I recently got to ride along with Karim on his delivery route in East Atlanta.  Karim joined the Fresh Harvest team as a driver in 2019 and was recently promoted to the Fresh Fleet Leadership Team.  His infectious personality, strong work ethic, and ability to translate make him an invaluable part of our team!  I learned more about why he loves work and his passion for helping other refugees as well as his friends and family in Burma.  Here is a little more about one of our amazing drivers!

Making deliveries in East Atlanta

David: Why don’t you start by introducing yourself to the Fresh Harvest community?

Karim: My name is Abdul Karim Mohammed Asim, but I’m known as Karim.  I’m 25 years old and I’m from Myanmar, formally known as Burma.  The journey to here is I was born in Burma then immigrated to Malaysia.  Then I came to America as a refugee in 2015 when I was nineteen years old.  So this is my third country.  

One of my friends told me about Fresh Harvest, and I joined Fresh Harvest back in 2019.  I’m also a volunteer at some non profit organizations and I help other refugees who have language issues.  It’s a different life when you come to America as a refugee.  We have the language barrier problem and it’s all very new.  We need to jump into the brand new place, but when you come to a place where your people are, it’s better.  I feel more comfortable with it, so I joined Fresh Harvest.  There are more now but even back in those days we had some Karen people [Burmese people group] so I was happy to join them.

David: How did you end up at Fresh Harvest and what is your job specifically?

Karim: I joined Fresh Harvest in 2019, I resigned after a month because of a family issue and I moved to Indiana.  I kept in touch with Thomas [Fresh Harvest Director of Fleet]  hoping we still had a spot.  When I left we had four trucks, and when I came back seven months later there were thirteen trucks.  I thought “Fresh Harvest is growing!  I was very excited to join a company that was so successful.  

I deliver baskets daily and 3 months ago I got a promotion because we were growing and have seventeen drivers now.  Thomas said he wanted me to help with Fleet system management.  Basically my job is to make sure all the drivers have everything they need before they get on the road.  Things like getting their GPS set up and we just went paperless, so now we’re using tablets rather than driver sheets (with customer orders).  We don’t use paper anymore, only the cloud.  I helped set all that up. 

It was amazing to join this family, it’s a growing family.  It brings me more experience in the work field.  I enjoy it every day.  We have a lot of diversity on our team.  Our fleet team is mostly Burmese so in leadership we need someone who can listen to them and remove the language barrier.  Customer service will call Thomas and if there is a language barrier, I jump in and help to translate from English to Burmese.  

Fleet Leadership Team. Aaron and Karim (not pictured: Thomas, Gary)

David: How many languages do you speak?

Karim: I speak five languages.  I was born in Burma so I speak Burmese.  I grew up in Malaysia so I speak Malaysian.  I speak Hindi and Urdu, which is Indian.  I speak my father language, which is Rohingya, and English.    

David: Tell us about the conflict going on in Myanmar and what you’ve been doing to raise money 

Karim: There was a military coup in Myanmar in February and one of the NLD (National League for Democracy) leaders was arrested.  A lot of people are dying and even though they are protesting peacefully, since February 800 people have died in protests.  The survivors cannot work, they have limited internet access, limited water, limited electricity. 

So Burmese people from around the world are helping, trying to feed them and donate money.  I participate in Georgia, I help my Georgian people to unite together and we fundraise by cooking meals for people who donate.  I joined back in March and we collected $18,000 at the first event and $12,000 at the second event.  The money goes directly to the people who lost their family, job, place to live.  There’s a lot of things happening in Burma and we try to help how best we can. 

In America, people like to try something different so we came up with the idea to sell meal tickets.   Last time we sold tickets for meals that we served in Clarkston or delivered to homes around Atlanta.  We make it fresh, and some of the volunteers work at Fresh Harvest.  The next event will be even more diverse food, bringing in more people from Southeast Asia. 

David: My family loved our meal.  What was it called?

Karim: That was two different rice noodle dishes.  One is Fried rice noodles and one we call rice noodle salad 

* Fresh Harvest will make an announcement on social media when the next fundraiser is held for those interested in getting involved! 

Delivering meals to fundraise for the Burmese people

David: You mentioned the diversity of the fleet team, you guys have been fasting for Ramadan recently, right?  

Karim: Yes.  As a Muslim we need to fast one month in a year.  So at least 30 days we need to fast.  Our drivers are doing a great job, but we have been a little bit slower than normal b/c we cannot eat or drink.  When you carry a basket, and need to walk upstairs to a door, it can be hard.  I just want to say a little bit sorry for anybody who got their delivery a little late!  

Next week [today!] is Eid al-Fitr where we break the fast and celebrate the end of Ramadan.  It’s a very special day for all Muslims.  We go with the lunar calendar and then we celebrate.  

Fresh Harvest Fleet Team

David: Lastly, I have to ask because we’re all jealous…tell us about the A-List Atlanta artist you deliver to?  

Karim: Oh yes, T-Pain!  For a long time I didn’t know it was his house but one day I delivered a basket and he pulled up in his Rolls-Royce with the window down.  I asked him, are you T-Pain? He said yes, I’m T-Pain.  Rappers like T-Pain are very big in Asia.  I grew up with his songs and still listen to his songs.  Amazing that Fresh Harvest gets to deliver to him and he was very nice! [starts singing “low, low, low, low…”]

Karim and T-Pain