Pioneering Parent: The Esmaeilys of Turlock | Sutter Health

2 months ago
They fled Iran after religious persecution. Together, they're forging new friendships through a shared love of soccer.

English subtitle

BABAK ESMAEILY:
My name is Babak.
I and my son are
living in Turlock.
We came to America, I
think just 5 months ago.
In normal life
I know what you have
to do for your son
but when you are a refugee
I really dont know.
This is an unnormal situation.
I learned how to be a father
and at the same time,
how to be a mother.
Cooking for my son
is difficult because
he just likes
McDonalds, Burger King
and I have to cook better
than McDonalds and Burger King.
My family in Iran
has no religion.
The government
they made my ex wife
separate me because
they told her,
he doesnt believe in God.
They told [her], hes dangerous.
because hes a secular teacher.
If you want to continue,
we will hurt you and your son.
When he was two years
old I couldnt see him.
I tried, I tried, I tried
but for two years or three
years I couldnt find him.
I decided just one
this is important.
You have to take
care of your son.
I was in a very bad situation
for ten or eleven years.
I had very bad depression.
I have to go to nature.
I was a teacher.
They told me you can
work anywhere you want.
But I said that
I prefer to work with the trees.
Hardwork is like fitness for me,
and for my mind, for my body.
Give me a kiss.
What happened in school today?
SON: It ended at 12.
BABAK: He cannot speak English.
Thats a big challenge.
When he cannot speak
when he cannot say what he wants
he paints.
Painting is not just painting.
Painting helps the
children to say
what they have no words to say.
When we came to Turlock
the first thing for me was
he has to go to school
and he has to play soccer.
Soccer is an
international language.
Thats not important
that you cannot speak
or you cannot understand
but we can play soccer
and we can make friends.
[cheering]
American people want to
help but usually they
dont know what they can do.
People think that
refugees need money
but thats wrong.
Refugees need friendship.
Friendship is the
first thing we need.
He's eleven years old.
As a father,
I just want him to be safe.
I have to support him.
Not I have to decide for him.
I wish one day
he will tell me
I am proud of you.
You were are a
good father for me.
Thats enough for me.