LEADING THE WAY FOR REINTEGRATION AND RESETTLEMENT.
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My name is Crystal Green. I am the mother of two (2) sons, one a graduate of West Point Academy, USA. The second recently graduated from Albany University, USA. He was fortunate to start working the week following his graduation. God isa good. I migrated from Jamaica to the USA at the age of fifteen (15). I spent over 30 years in the United States. My profession there was in Early Childhood Education.
In Nov of 2006, I was deported. Living in Jamaica as a deported person is a culture shock to me. My opportunities presently are limited and my challenges are enormous. With hard work, determination and assistance from organization like FURI, I consider myself successful thus far. I am a 2007 graduate of Heart Trust National Agency of Jamaica. I pursued a certificate in business, entrepreneur and data entry. Currently I am a graduate at UTC, University Theological College of the West Indies, where I successfully completed a counseling degree.
Giving back to my country, Jamaica is the gate way to my success. It is an honor for me to volunteer with the St. Jude’s Scout Troop, 292 in Stony Hill St. Andrew, as a scout leader. Being a Wood Badge recipient, I enjoy leading the scouts. I am also a volunteer on the Mona Baptist church team. Presently I am in my fourth year as a coordinator for the help ministry out reach program.
FURI –International is home away from home for me. This organization helps motivate, encourage, empower, counsel and provide me with the network to reintegrate and resettle in Jamaica.
Presently I serve as the President of FURI- Beacon, group of returnees that help charter the vision of FURI- International. A team of five (5) and my self is responsible for approximately one hundred (100) registered members.
I am hopeful that my continuous success and other returning persons will attract the attention of those who can assist FURI, and other organizations provide the tools and opportunities needed to this rising crisis of deportation.
I lived in Canada for approximately 10 years. I was deported to Jamaica in 2004. I had to leave the only family I knew behind.
The first two years in Jamaica, 2004-2006 was challenging for me. There was no one who think, I need help as a returnee. My desire to learn, relearn and unlearn, to this new environment, is my success.
January of 2007, I got the opportunity to start a cook shop in my community, Central Village, St. Catherine. I did this for six (6) months successfully. Regretfully I had to close shop because of community violence.
My next opportunity arrived in December of 2006. I participated in a training program and became one of the top students to serve as a Security Guard for a reputable company.
I have been an employee with them presently for 3 years.
I was able to mortgage a one (1) bed room house in a small community. I am still an active member in FURI. I will continue to help and support the program that is growing to assist the deported persons.
My conviction of a felony in the USA qualified me for deportation. This crime occurred in my adolescence years. But with the new immigration laws, I didn’t escaped being deported
I am twenty six (26) years old. I lived in the United States for 15 Years. Deportation was hard for me. There was no one in Jamaica that wanted to assist me because of the stigma on my circumstances: I had nothing to start life with. No place to live. No food to eat.
Luckily I am a fan of the Great Bob Marley- “every thing is going to be alright” was my hope to rise above my circumstances.
My only choice was, to live in a homeless night shelter and seek food and clothes in a homeless day shelter. I seek minimal jobs during the days. My first employment was with a wholesale store in downtown Kingston. I saved my wages for one (1) year. I rented a room to have a safer place to sleep- the shelters were crowed and volatile for me.
I heard about FURI from the shelters that assisted me. I became a member, immediately in FURI -Beacon and start playing an active part in the organization.
FURI -Beacon referred me to different services that assisted me. I was also encouraged and supported to attend evening classes. I was assisted in getting my school transcripts and other documents needed to get started.
I became a graduate of NCMB, National College of Management & Business, with a degree in business management.
I was now prepared to seek employment else where. I applied to one Jamaica most famous retail industry- Super-Plus Supermarket for employment. I was employed as a stock clerk. I continued to climb the ladder of success. Presently I am now working with a major manufacturing firm as a department supervisor.
I lived in Connecticut, USA for eighteen years. It was extremely painful when I got deported February 26, 2004. Leaving my four (4) year old son behind was devastating.
I am an Artist. In Jamaica I taught the community children, African Art and craft at the local libraries. I created two (2) registered companies, Dream Team Production and Second Sound station to survive. I employed another deportee to work with me. I was given the privileges of touring with the Jamaican Guild of Artists from 2008-2009.
It was on my birthday Jan 9, 2007 when I got involved with FURI. I did because I need help to by some art supplies for my struggling business. I had to travel from a small town call Mile Gully, in Mandeville where I resided since I got deported. Traveling to Kingston to the FURI office was long and expensive. But I knew I had to be apart of that family. The team there is excellent. FURI- Beacon is doing a great job in supporting returnees.
I devoted my spare time reading immigration laws. Successfully it paid of for me – I filed the I-90 and I-30 documents to reenter the United States. The process took me 3 years. I was granted the opportunity to reunite with my family especially my son in Connecticut after 5 years living in Jamaica.
I am so grateful and happy for my success experience.
I didn't know I was born in Jamaica, until I was told by the Canadian Immigrations that I am being deported in 1994. That’s when the truth revealed to me that my mother took me to Canada since I was a baby.
I never travel back to Jamaica. Being born in Jamaica was never discussed in my house!
I lived in Canada all my life, 23 years. Scratch, two (2) months less! That’s all I knew Canada. Returning home to Jamaica was like experiencing a bad dream, but I kept waking up to the reality that I am in Jamaica with unfamiliar places, faces…..
I fought Jamaica! Jamaica allowed me to beat my self up-I was in a gang, I got in trouble repetitiously. I went to jail. I was home less. You name it I was a part of the problem because of my pain.
My last experience in jail, I was introduced to a Godly way of living. Upon my release I decide to change people places and things.
On the path of my new life pattern I got a job, I met a nice woman- we’re married with a beautiful daughter. FURI is also on that path. FURI- Beacon became a part of my life. It’s a pleasure to travel from the rural area, where I live to attend meetings and assist with the other deportees/arrives. I am currently serving a as a Board Member.
Challenges still a waits me. But the success is becoming apart of my life in Jamaica. My friends call me CaJ’Can. I am down with that.
HOW I’M REINTEGRATING
For me reintegration started in my mindset before I arrived in Jamaica. During my deportation process I accepted, surrendered, and willingly prepared myself for the experiences I was uncertain about.
My spiritual and emotional awareness was my guide and still is. I was nervous but curious about my transition in a place I have not resided in since I was a child. I equipped myself with humility, patience, obedience and an adventurous attitude in spite of my brokenness, pain and confused circumstances. I was homeless, jobless and most of all separated from my husband and children.
Once I arrived in Jamaica in December of 2005, I surrendered totally. I experienced an emotional death so I had no choice but to look forward to a new beginning.
I checked my survival skills and they were fine tuned I had survival experiences prior, especially from a bitter divorce and the death of my dad. Instantly I was reminded how to cope in a crisis situation and I recognized that being deported was a crisis for me.
From the beginning I felt a sense of empowerment, gratitude and hopefulness, these principles are still with me comporting me.
I decided to go on a retreat immediately upon arrival- avoid all distraction to stay connected with my inner self. I did this for three (3) months. After 3 months I realized the need to learn, adapt and be a part of the Jamaican culture, but still proudly practice my sub-culture behaviors: Courtesy, mannerism, patience and politeness were expressed in love peace and happiness. These principles sustain me and strengthen me. Believe it or not my attire, my grooming my perfumes all reminders of my life in the US, serve to soothe my spirit. (Fortunately for me, my family continue to provide these items. I was determined to be me, and not allow anyone to let me think otherwise.