Seth Dale is a minister in New Jersey, a supporter of the local refugee community and the son of Wendy Dale, a CVRAN member. He sent her the following letter he received, which could provide inspiration and ideas for refugees and asylum seekers here in Vermont.
I am Ashar Hafeez Ghumman and I am from Pakistan. I came to America in early 2016 but was detained for nine months in Elizabeth Detention Center and finally was released in September 2016. Since then I have lived here in Highland Park and Edison.
I ran an eye hospital in the remote Gilgit region of Pakistan and I was part of its establishment. This was a charity hospital and was the only eye hospital in the whole region. We had a three acre lot where we grew cherry trees, pomegranate plants, strawberries, and a little vegetable garden. This little garden was the main tomato supplier to our hospital canteen during summer months. Apart from tomato, we grew cucumber, eggplants, spinach, beans, and bitter melon. Since I came here, apart from missing other things of my country I missed my hospital and its garden. . . .
Last year I found out that that IRISE (a church refugee organization) was going to give an . . . opportunity to refugees and asylums to have small plots of lands to grow their own vegetables – especially their home country vegetables. It would also give people an opportunity to sit together and get to know each other and to form community. . . .
I had already started to work on my part of land when I got a call from Pastor Seth informing me that the Food and Farm Coordination Position was now available and, keeping in mind my past experience, he wanted me to join the project. I accepted with no hesitation! . . . I felt like this is a dream come true. Whatever I had left behind, God is giving me here. . . .