Afghan refugee couple in Greensboro reflects on journey

Piedmont Triad News

GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Imagine giving birth on a plane full of strangers more than 30,000 feet up in the air.

That’s the reality for Afghan mother Madina Shenwari, who is now in Greensboro after fleeing the war-torn country.

It’s the first time the Shenwari family is speaking publicly since being in the United States.

Their hope now is that they will make Greensboro a permanent home.

“Yes, this will be my country,” husband Mohammad Shenwari said.

A fresh start in a new country, a new home, with new faces.

“We don’t have problems. The Americans and everybody are very nice. And we appreciate it,” Mohammad said.

It’s all thanks to the help of volunteers through the NC African Coalition Services that this family of four, 22-year-old mother Madina, 27-year-old father Mohammad their 2-year-old daughter Wahida and almost 2-month-old Fatima, can live here comfortably.

The sense of ease they feel now comes with heavy feeling after fleeing the Taliban-seized country.

“I’m very, very upset that we lost the country and Taliban got it. There’s a lot of problems. There’s a lot of poor [people] and there’s a lot of issues,” Mohammad said.

Mohammad worked with the U.S military for about a decade and was injured trying to flee to the country.

“Yes, it was very difficult because I was wounded and my wife had a lot more problems because she was pregnant,” Mohammad said.

“I was facing a lot of problems,” Madina said. “Yes, it was scary.”

Now, baby Fatima now represents hope and a new blessing.

“It’s a very interesting memory for me that the child was born in the plane. I don’t know how they count the citizenship on that one,” Mohammed said.

While he can have a slight sense of humor about the way she came into this world, it’s buried beneath the pain of leaving behind loved ones.

“I have family (her parents, sisters and brothers) there and also, they are in danger,” Madina said.

Mohammed’s parents, siblings and nieces are there too, fearing for their lives.

“Our wish is that Congress will help our family take care of them because normally if somebody was with Americans, the family is in danger,” he said.

Both parents say they’ve had little contact with their families stuck in Afghanistan but were able to notify family there that they made it to America.

As for both parents’ hope for their young daughters, it’s the same as any other parents.

“That my children get educated and they will have a good future,” Mohammad said.

The next step is for Mohammad to get his foot healthy so that he can work.

Another refugee landed Monday night and volunteers have asked for some privacy as they get some rest and get acclimated to life in Greensboro.

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