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Grateful refugee settles in Mid-Michigan

Posted: 7:36 AM, Nov 20, 2015
Updated: 2015-11-20 07:36:24-05

Iraqi refugee May Anyayi says she's living the American Dream.

"For me it's heaven," said Anyayi. "I love life here in America. Even it's hard for me as a system, but that's what I dream is to be here. It's great, and I tell you why, because it's safe."

But eight years ago, Anyayi was living in Baghdad, working for the American Embassy and fearing for her life.

"Anything belongs to America considered betray their country at that time," said Anyayi. "I was target by Iraqis because I was working for US embassy."

She and her sister were on a blacklist.

"I told her this is the sign we have to leave," said Anyayi. "They will come back, and they kill us, and we decided to leave the house and leave everything."

To start a new life with her family in the United States.

"There are a lot of innocent people that are waiting for that moment so they can be here, and they are suffering," said Anyayi. "So they are waiting for a time to have that peace like anyone who deserve to live in peace."

Something other volunteers witnessed first hand while working in the Middle East.

"They're in constant fear of dying, and they don't know where their next meal is going to come from," said Abdul Kassab, an MSU student who volunteered with the Syrian American Medical Society over spring break.

"Very few areas in Syria remain in which people have homes to live in or places to sleep," said Dr. Abdalmajid Katranji, a former board member of the Syrian American Medical Society.

They say the U.S. gives refugees a sense of hope, something Anyayi has now found living in Michigan.

"When you feel like you belong to that country, if that country respect you as a human being, then that's the main thing. It's wonderful," she said.

And it's now the place she proudly calls home.

Anyayi started a child care business with her sister.

Her son just graduated from MSU with a degree in Human Biology and is looking at different medical schools.

Her daughter is in social work and taking classes at MSU.