June 30, 2016 | Diversity / Staff Stories
The Journey Toward Freedom
People come to the United States from all over the world for many different reasons. Some come to escape oppression or war, and some seek the things we take for granted, like access to healthcare and education. At Mountain Park we take pride in seeing patients from all walks of life, and that many of our staff members can relate to the experiences shared by our patients.
Rabah Radhi, our Language Access Manager, has been through many dangerous and difficult times in her home country of Iraq. With her willpower and the support of her husband, the two started their journey toward freedom, security, safety and stability.
“It took us over five years to get to the United States,” Rabah told us. “We had to go through rigorous interviews, background checks and medical exams.”
But that’s the least of the obstacles that Rabah and her family faced. With their safety in mind, the couple made the decision to leave while Rabah was pregnant, as violence was escalating rapidly in her community. In the early stages of her pregnancy, Rabah had minor complications and had to undergo a minor procedure. The hospital where she was seen lost electricity due to a nearby explosions, and the doctor accidentally gave her too much anesthesia, causing Rabah to have problems waking up.
Realizing that a simple procedure almost ended her and her daughter’s life, Rabah and her husband knew that they had to do everything possible to give their daughter a better life.
“We were not so sure when I would go into labor. We were afraid that I wouldn’t reach the hospital in time for me to deliver our baby safely,” she recalls. “We made a decision to leave because once you choose to have a child, life ceases to be about you, it becomes all about the child you and your husband chose to bring into this world.”
Their daughter Danieh was born in Jordan and lived there for almost five years. Although the country was nice—better than what they were all used to—it was limited in what it had to offer.
“It was a good place to wait for something else to happen,” Rabah added.
Once Rabah and her husband entered Jordan, the rigorous application process for resettlement began. Because of the war in Iraq, resources were limited in surrounding countries and the relocation waits were long.
“It was a nerve wracking time for us,” she recalls. “I remember my husband had his cell phone on him all the time because we didn’t want to miss the call. Once you miss that call you were risking everything while waiting for the unknown to happen. One missed call could put you months or even years behind.”
After years of waiting they finally got the call. The family was welcomed into the United States and they were on their way to a new life together.
A Place to Call Home
When the family finally arrived in the U.S., Rabah volunteered with our partner organization—The International Rescue Committee (IRC)—the same resettlement agency that welcomed her and her family and helped them start a new life here. With 10 years’ experience working for the United Nations in both Iraq and Jordan, and her profound dedication, Rabah was later hired by the IRC to be part of the IRC Interpreter Services Program.
In 2015 Rabah became part of the Mountain Park family as our Language Access Manager. She is responsible for securing and ensuring the provision of language services to all of our patients in every one of our eight clinics. With over 66 languages spoken in our clinics, her role is essential to our community.
At Mountain Park we take pride in the culture and diversity of our clinics. We also think it’s important to celebrate those who care for our patients each and every day.
“Our patients and our staff know that they can bring their true and authentic selves to the clinic,” Rabah said.
The Final Steps
This April Rabah finally became an American citizen. Her naturalization ceremony followed just a few months after her husband’s proud day.
“I was so happy on this day, having my friends, family and my Mountain Park family attending my ceremony made it more special,” she said smiling. “I knew it was going to be a special moment but having my Mountain Park family there meant a lot to me. I’m so proud to work at an organization committed to providing services to everyone, and am fulfilled by knowing we serve those who have been through the same journey my family and I have.”
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