by Meghan Long, Communications Fellow
Meeting Sarah and Samire, you would think they were sisters. Their contagious laughter and love for one another exudes true friendship. This unique and unbreakable bond would not have been formed if the girls hadn’t met in Spokane after resettling as refugees.
Sarah is from Iraq and Samire is from Afghanistan. These countries provided a traumatic upbringing for them, including the loss of many family members and living in war torn areas.
In 2006, Sarah and her family fled from Iraq to Syria to live for five years. In 2011, they had to go back to Iraq because of the Syrian war. Samire fled to Turkey from Afghanistan with her family in 2008. Both girls finally resettled in the U.S. in 2014.
Their individual journeys to the U.S. looked a lot different, but their destination was the same - North Spokane’s Mead High School. One afternoon during the first week of their freshman year, Sarah and Samire got off at the same bus stop and found out they lived in the same apartment complex. Every semester after that initial meeting, the pair had the same class schedule.
Both girls knew that moving to the U.S. would involve a lot of adjusting. Nothing was familiar anymore; they had to get used to new foods, new forms of transportation, and a new school system. But what the girls didn’t know was that even in the midst of intense change and an unexplainable sense of loss, they would find a lifelong best friend in each other and a helper through all the change. “I would like to have her in my life forever,” Sami says.
Samire decided to transfer to Mt. Spokane after her sophomore year at Mead. Without hesitation, Sarah followed - another testament to the strong and authentic friendship they share. “At first I didn’t want to leave Mead, but after I saw that she was going, I didn’t want to leave her,” Sarah says.
After graduating from Mt. Spokane with honors, they worked together for two years at Whitworth University’s cafeteria. They loved working together and watching each other grow in their positions. “She was the pizza lady,” Sarah says, laughing about her pizza-serving friend. “And she will always be there for me. Even if we fight or don’t talk for a long time, I know she will always be there for me.”
Both girls have dreams of becoming a part of the FBI. “My teachers at SCC encouraged me to think about the FBI because I can speak Arabic,” Sarah says. Originally, Samire was going to SCC for a degree in civil engineering, but she says she’s leaning towards changing her major. “My biggest dream is to make my dad proud, and to be a useful person for our community. I’d love to help bring peace to the whole world. I don’t want any more war.”
Likewise, Sarah wants to see change in our community and globally when it comes to relational strife and war. “This is what everyone wants; peace in the whole world. You know, we have been through a lot in our home countries. We have seen enough.”
These two powerful, smart, and compassionate young women have already had a profound impact on the Spokane community and will continue doing so through their unique and indestructible friendship.