This program is supported in part by a grant from the Worcester Arts Council, which was made possible with
American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Funding from the City of Worcester.
About the Project
In August 2021, when the US pulled out of Afghanistan, I felt a deep sense of loss for people I did not know and a land I had never visited. When I heard that my city would become the home to hundreds of Afghan refugees, I offered to temporarily host one Afghan family. Late in the evening of November 1st, 2021, twelve weary and frightened people arrived at my house. To welcome them, I cooked a huge meal of Afghan rice with Halal lamb, naan, and warm tea. As we sat down for our first meal together, my life would forever be changed by this beautiful family. Over the course of the month that we lived together, I learned their stories. We laughed and cried together. I felt the pain of their unbearable loss of home and purpose, and for some of the adult children, the pain of the separation from their spouses and small children, who were still in Afghanistan, living in hiding. My life was so much richer for having shared their stories with them and I have been blessed with the honor of their love and trust.
Their stories are stories that need to be documented and shared. They are the living history of our city and country and I am afraid that one day we will look back on this time and forget these stories. They will become watered down. And this slice of human history will be lost.
I want to capture these first-hand stories to share with our community now and in the future. I will create a docu-series featuring the stories of five Afghan refugee families that have been resettled in Worcester. These stories will include the stories of my friends, as well as four other families, capturing the diversity of the Afghan languages and cultures, as well as experiences. We will meet a father and two sons who served as soldiers for the US government and held off the Taliban after the US troops left so that US weapons would not wind up in the hands of the Taliban. We will meet a mother whose son was murdered by the Taliban after she was evacuated to the US. We will hear the many stories of individuals who were forced to flee without their spouses and small children. We will hear the stories of the young and the old alike and, although no two stories will be alike, we will see a common theme of human beings having to make the decision to run away from everything they have ever known, leaving their homes, their jobs, their families, and their friends behind.
I will work closely with a local refugee agency to identify five families who represent a diverse spectrum of the Afghan refugees in Worcester. I will spend one day with each of the five families, capturing their stories, as well as some of their cultures and traditions. Using an interpreter from the Afghan community, I will dig into their journeys to the US, as well as their lives before coming to the US. We will discuss their hopes and dreams and fears. We will dig into their struggles, while also capturing moments of joy. As with any documentary style filming, we will go in with a plan, but maintain an open mind to enter a conversation that will capture their truth.