Since leaving Afghanistan, M. Kazam Hashimi has experienced a series of firsts: his first American meal;his first American job; and now; his first American baseball game at the home of the Pittsburgh Pirates, PNC Park.
自从离开阿富汗，M. Kazam Hashimi体验了一系列的第一次：在美国的第一顿饭，第一份工作，还有现在正坐在匹兹堡海盗的主场——PNC球场第一次观看美国棒球比赛。
“Today we are in Pirates’s game first time ever for my family.In Afghanistan, people are very big fan of soccer, they don’t know anything about Pirates.”
His education in baseball is another part of Hashimi’s long journey fleeing war in Afghanistan,where he worked as a translator for the U.S. Army… an increasingly dangerous job.
“So I quit working there as a matter of fact because my family and I got threatened to death, so I had to quit, and I had to leave.”
Using a special immigration visa, Hashimi and his family arrived in the U.S. in 2015.Though he spoke English, and had connections with former U.S. military members,Hashimi was a stranger in a strange land, navigating a different culture.
Then he received an email from a nonprofit organization in Pittsburgh called “Hello Neighbor.”
“You will get to meet new American families, you will get to understand American culture.Basically almost everything about the United States, about the people, so then I was very interested, my family as well.”
“I think it’s important to remember that refugees are people who are forced to flee.”
Sloane Davidson created “Hello Neighbor” to help refugee families in Pittsburgh connect with Americans who wanted to help.
“And I really thought a lot about how these two groups could come together and have meaningful interactions,and really impact each other’s lives.”
So she began hosting events like picnics and library visits, pairing refugee families with American mentors like Michelle Boehm.
“I think it’s vital. I think that we need to introduce these people into our culture.We need to accept them with open arms and help them integrate.”
Boehm’s buzzing over “America’s Favorite Pastime.” Boehm says her family has integrated so well with Hashimi’s.They are more than just mentors, they are friends.
“Their kids are 6, 5 and 3, and mine are 6 and 2, so it ends up being perfect as far as the age ranges go, and they love hanging out.”
“Here in Pittsburgh, we talk about being a city of bridges, and how we build bridges.And that same mentality should extend, but does not always, to the newer wave of refugees and immigrants that come in.”
With “Hello Neighbor”, Pittsburgh has built a bridge into M. Kazam Hashimi’s heart.
在“你好邻居”的帮助下，匹兹堡与M. Kazam Hashimi的心灵之间架起了一座桥梁。
“City of Bridges. I love it.”
And could soon build bridges beyond the still city.
Sloane Davidson says her email inbox is full of interest from other locations that want to adopt similar programs.
Kane Farabaugh, VOA news, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.