Many of you know the story I'm about to tell, or at least know some aspect of it. I am asking for your help to fund my friend's (Mr. Linguist) college education as he and his young family establish their life in Canada. Mr. Linguist has an ingrained desire to contribute and provide for his family, friends and his community, but as an immigrant to a new land he faces obstacles that many of us will never realize. In the past four years he has had several low-wage temporary jobs. He needs permanent employment with a decent salary so that he can independently support his family. His lack of formal education, applicable skill set, and the stigma of being an immigrant are the challenges he faces. As my friend has always been there for me, my family has pledged to him that we will help fund his college education.
With your help I hope to raise enough money to fund the first three years of his college tuition. As November 20th, 2012 is the 33rd anniversary of my birth, I have decided to give my birthday to my friend. I am setting the date of February 20th, 2013 to be the target date for which I reach my goal of $10,000 to pay for Mr. Linguist's tuition and books. (As this is a public sight, for the purposes of protecting his family I am masking my friend's identity.)
Mr. Linguist has chosen to pursue a degree in social work because he is a skilled observer and critical thinker of the human condition. Bridging the cultural gap in social interaction was a major part of his job as an interpreter. Upon arriving in Canada he was helped by a social service organization for new immigrants. Because of his desire to help others and his knowledge of five languages, he quickly became a volunteer providing needed support to others. Attending adult education courses, he recently earned his Canadian high school diploma. This fall, he began his college studies with an introductory year in social work at his local community college. After he completes three years he will be able to become employed in the social work field and then will be able to continue his studies to earn a Bachelor's Degree.
I first met Mr. Linguist when I deployed to Afghanistan as an officer in the US Navy during the spring of 2006. Mr. Linguist was employed as an interpreter/linguist for the coalition forces with a Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT). I led the PRT's Engineering Department and was the chief procurement officer for a $50 million reconstruction effort of the province we operated in, working closely with local engineers, contractors, and government and tribal leaders. Mr. Linguist's primary role was to provide interpretation/linguistic services to the Engineering Department during weekly update meetings with contractors, on-site assessments at construction projects, detailed design meetings and negotiations, as well as interactions with high level government and local officials.
Mr. Linguist's "all in" attitude gained him a reputation as a highly reliable and responsive interpreter/linguist who was fully dedicated to his job. His actions proved that he understood and valued the importance of the support and enabling capacity that he provided the engineering staff at the PRT. Mr. Linguist's integrity, loyalty, enthusiasm, and pursuit to study and further refine his linguistic abilities was unmatched by his counterparts. He took pride in being punctual, correct in his interpretations, culturally aware and respectful; an invaluable asset in all engagements.
The successful contribution of the PRT Engineering Department to the reconstruction effort of our province was immeasurably reliant on Mr. Linguist. I quickly discovered the interactions the Engineering Department had on a daily basis with local contractors and government and tribal leaders were less than straightforward and at times difficult to comprehend due to the multilingual requirements and gap in cultural understanding between Afghan and American. In addition, the less than transparent nature of the local business practices and the inherent stress of the political and socioeconomic situation presented undesirable conditions by which to complete our operations of reconstruction. I often questioned the ethics and decorum of many of the local Afghan construction contractors, government officials, other interpreters, and sometimes myself. I could always rely on Mr. Linguist for his unwavering honesty and authenticity with regard to any situation; related to our operations, or simply related to the situation of foreign forces in Afghanistan. He proved to be an advocate for his country, for the PRT and the Engineering Department, and for me as a person. In between all of this he became my friend and colleague in humanity.
In 2007 I left Afghanistan, and subsequently left the US Navy. In 2008, with the help of many family and friends, Mr. Linguist immigrated to Canada with his new wife Mrs. Linguist. They love their home country of Afghanistan, but due to the nature of his position working for the coalition forces, and the horrible sociopolitical environment, leaving the country became a necessity for the safety and future of their lives. In the past four years they have been busy, now with three little boys, they are all permanent residents.
During Mr. Linguist's career as an interpreter he helped many people do their jobs, reach their goals and remain safe in dangerous situations. It is now time for many of us to "pay it forward", return the favor. Please help him pursue his goal of a college education and a quality life for his family in their new home and country.
Please know that donations from one dollar to one thousand dollars are equally appreciated. One of the best ways you can help me raise $10,000 is to forward this fundraiser on to everyone you know! Thank you so much for your consideration!
Please read the following article for additional background on the connections our friendship has created.
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