SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — Karma brought the two friends together once in a desperate land.
Now they are in paradise together. It’s an interesting story.
Both were looking for interviews — one for a book and the other for a college class.
“We met on the street,” said Will Everett, owner of Karma Cafe. “One of my first tasks was getting him over here after I came back to the states.”
Today, Will Everett, of Brownsville, and Roin Khurami, from Kabul, Afghanistan, are serving coffee and lattes to beachgoers on the Island.
“We are a full specialty coffee shop with a full line of desserts,” Everett said. “I saw there was a need for a sweet shop as well as a coffee shop and that is why we’re here.”
And it’s in paradise compared to the capital of Afghanistan where sniper shooters take over high buildings and suicide bombers kill masses.
Everett had been working in Afghanistan for seven years doing aid work and communications before he decided to come back to the Valley to get away from the war and the violence in Afghanistan.
And after he left Afghanistan, it became clear it was much too dangerous for Roin, because envious Afghans did not like he had worked for Everett.
Roin has been in the United States since 2016 seeking asylum. Now he is the manager of Karma Café.
They both agreed opening the coffee shop has been the best way to take their mind off the past.
“We are coming up with our own concoction like ways to marry coffee and ice cream,” Everett said. “These are two things that appeal to kids and adults.”
Everett said people come in here and it’s become a good meeting place for people to talk and enjoy themselves.
“Seeing those connections is what makes this job meaningful,” Everett said.
Seeing the customer smiles enjoying their coffee and the excitement of the families enjoying ice cream is enough.
They said their job is not about the money.
“I never thought one day I would be in the United States,” Roin said. “Now I’m here with Will making a business on South Padre Island.”
Roin said his life is totally different now.
“I can fly here compared to Afghanistan,” Roin said. “This country is awesome.”
Roin had worked with Everett in Afghanistan, helping Everett make his life easier as a guide and translator.
“This is going to give him a leg up,” Everett, said. “He’s getting something out of it I’m getting something out of it.”
Roin’s vision for the coffee shop is to grow the business one coffee sale at a time.
“Life is about being confident and a big supporter of yourself,” Roin said.