Arman has been in the UK for almost two years, his English is coming on and despite the terrible weather in the city he lives in he’s settling in and going to college. His wife and child have been in Iran whilst he’s been here. Arman is a Christian and as such faced persecution at home. Because of this he’s not willing for us to use his real name or pictures of him being reunited with his family.
We often are with clients when they meet their family to facilitate practical arrangements and provide reassurance. Arman’s family have travelled with two other families and have been met by a driver at Heathrow who’s bringing them all to the northern town where we’re waiting to meet them. He’s clearly nervous and excited and has brought flowers for his wife. He shows me pictures on his phone; recent ones his wife has sent of her and their son, of him and his son, a smiling four year old, when they were last together, the day his son was born and holidays they had together. He and his wife have been married for 8 years and apart for 18 months; ‘She is very beautiful.’ The last one he shows me is his family at the airport in Tehran, his wife saying goodbye to her parents and their son clutching her hand. ‘They are all still there, my family.’ he says.
Like most Iranians I’ve met he’s very proud of his country and shows me pictures of Tehran and Shiraz, ancient monuments, parks and palaces. He’s got promotional films on his phone and pictures of the cities he’s lived in. ‘But it is not good there now’ he explains and we leave it at that. He’s eager to tell me about what life was like there and what his country can offer. In halting English and much assistance from Google Translate we pass the time with conversations about chess, Britain’s ageing population and he teaches me some basic Farsi I can use next time.
When we hear the minibus is arriving we wait outside in the drizzle. When he sees his wife and son he’s at a loss for words and they hug before everyone starts talking at once and the luggage is unloaded. He doesn’t let go of his son.