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Register reporters describe harrowing conditions of some Afghan refugees in Iowa

Hear how the bottle bill changed Iowa and sit down with one of the screenwriters of Brazilian show Sintonia.

Already President Joe Biden has said the United States will take in 100,000 refugees from Ukraine. Gov. Kim Reynolds has said Iowa will be a part of the effort to accept those refugees. But a recent story from the Des Moines Registerraises questions about the state's capacity to do so.

On this episode of River to River, host Ben Kieffer speaks with the Register's social justice reporter Andrea May Sahouri about her interviews with Afghan families struggling to meet basic needs like getting enough to eat.

"All of them are expecting to have a better life here," Sahouri said. "... I think Afghans were left living below what they expected."

For more on what you can do, the Register compiled some details on how to help.

Later in the hour, we hear about how the bottle bill changed Iowans' relationship with litter. Luíza Fazio, a screenwriter, talks about her work with the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. Lastly, IPR's Studio One host Cece Mitchell joins to talk about new music from bands headlining this weekend's Mission Creek Festival in Iowa City.


  • Andrea May Sahouri, social justice reporter for the Des Moines Register
  • Barbara Licklider, professor emerita in educational leadership and policy studies at Iowa State University; former director of the Webster County Youth Conservation Corps from 1975 to 1978 and the Big Creek Young Adult Conservation Corps from 1978-1980
  • Luíza Fazio, screenplay writer in the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa
  • Cece Mitchell, host of IPR Studio One
Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River
Zachary Oren Smith is a reporter covering Eastern Iowa