By Eric Tlozek
While 600 men are still fighting to get off Manus Island, one is fighting to get back on.
This month, Bangladeshi asylum seeker Helal Uddin will mark one year apart from his Manus Islander wife Alice and young son Mohammad.
Known as "Spicy" for his hot Bengali curries, Helal became a popular face around the Manus capital, Lorengau, where several community leaders supported his application for a spousal visa.
But because his asylum claim was rejected, Mr Uddin was arrested and deported by PNG immigration authorities in February 2018.
Alice Uddin told the ABC her husband was taken without warning.
"They took him to the cell, they put him there one night and then the next day they brought him to the airport and they took him to Bangladesh," she said.
"That was the last time I saw him, at the airport, and then he left. It was very sad and very hard for me.
"I hope he can come back. (I miss him) so much."
Mr Uddin's repeated requests to PNG immigration authorities for a new visa have gone unanswered, as have the ABC's questions about his application.
"I'm thinking a lot about my family, please God help me, make my family together," Mr Uddin wrote in a recent post on Facebook.
In late 2018, Mr Uddin told the ABC he was depressed and distraught over his failure to secure a visa to return to PNG.
He has not responded to any messages or calls since.
Helal Uddin is one of several Manus Island asylum seekers tracked by Foreign Correspondent since July 2017, when the Australian Government was preparing to close the offshore detention centre and transfer more responsibility for the men inside to the Papua New Guinea government.
Their stories are a mix of elation and crushing disappointment, as some made their way from Manus to North America.
Others remain in PNG with no indication of whether they will be resettled.
The Australian Government says 456 refugees from Manus Island and Nauru have been resettled in the United States, under a deal agreed by Malcolm Turnbull and Barack Obama.
Many are struggling with the scant support provided in the US, according to Fleur Wood, the co-founder of expatriate volunteer group Australian Diaspora Steps Up, or ADS Up.
"For some of these guys it really is terrible," she said.
"We've had groups of three and four guys that are living together and they only had one single mattress, so they are taking turns sleeping on that single mattress.
"We have guys that arrived in the middle of winter with absolutely no winter clothing, with thongs and shorts.
"There's other refugees that we've heard of, that no one met them at the airport, and they were alone at the airport for hours, trying to work out where to go and what to do.
"These people really do need help."
The land of opportunity
Some Rohingya men Foreign Correspondent met in Chicago were finding resettlement so difficult they asked to be returned to Nauru.
But not Imran Mohammad. The 24-year-old Rohingya refugee is making the best of his new American life in a multicultural suburb of North Chicago.
Softly-spoken, smart and sensitive, Mr Mohammad learned English on Manus and spoke about the experience with intensity and deep hurt.
"When I entered in the centre, I saw people were depressed and people were warehoused, and the men were yelling and screaming," he said.
"I didn't see them but I could hear their sound, then straight away I knew this is going to be bad.
"I'm not here to be processed, I am here to be tortured."
Mr Mohammad is now studying full time and contemplating a career as a nurse, so he can work with refugees.
He feels grateful for his resettlement, but still thinks daily of Manus.
"I'm here. I am free, but I still have nightmares," he said.
"Sometimes I just can't sleep, I am wide awake and just wander around in my apartment. I call my friends' names, but they're not here, they're on Manus."
Mr Mohammad remains highly critical of the Australian Government, particularly their pride in the offshore detention policy. He said he was sickened to hear Prime Minister Scott Morrison keeps a trophy of an asylum-seeker boat on his desk.
"I wish they had done something different instead of torturing human lives," he said.
"There are hundreds of men, children and women who are okay physically, but they are not okay mentally, they are broken.
"It's the Australian Government which has destroyed so many lives."
Struggling to adjust
A small number of refugees, like 25-year-old Iranian Amir Taghinia, left Manus island in unusual ways.
Passionate, intelligent and with a good command of English, Mr Taghinia was a de facto leader inside the Manus detention centre.
He got off Manus with the help of Canadian-Australian nurse Chelsea Taylor, who was vaccinating asylum-seekers in detention.
She referred his refugee case to her parents Wayne and Linda, who formed a well-connected group of volunteers and took advantage of Canada's refugee sponsorship scheme to bring Amir to their home city of Vancouver.
"She (Chelsea) was adamant that we do something," Wayne Taylor said.
"We were somewhat concerned that we could really achieve anything having not been through it, but we just [thought] well, we'll give it a go.
"It's almost inconceivable that these people could be treated the way they've been treated."
Mr Taghinia remains grateful to the Taylor family and his sponsorship group, which raised around $30,000 for his resettlement and supported him for his first year in Canada.
"I went through lots of risks to make this happen," he said.
"I contacted so many people, I found the sources to help me get out of Manus Island, I did lots of paperwork on a tiny phone, I put lots of effort and then it was the Taylor family that they helped, they did lots of great help.
"If they weren't there, I wouldn't be here today."
Amir Taghinia's new life is outwardly pleasant but inwardly tortured.
He shares a basement flat in a leafy suburb, works at a popular tourist attraction and studies at Vancouver Community College.
But he has gone from being a sought-after person — a Manus celebrity whose advice, skills and advocacy were sorely needed — to being a young immigrant in a city of polite but distant Canadians.
"(When) I was on Manus Island, I had like 1,500 people just running after me, wanting updates, wanting to know what's the news, wanting to know when they get out of there. Wanting me to do stuff for them," he said.
"But, in here all of a sudden it's just like, boom, there is nobody around and nobody asking me anything.
t's a very strange feeling and culture for me in terms of meeting friends and finding friends and meeting people.
"You can be in the worst place on this planet, the worst one — let's say Manus Island — and make it a heaven for yourself. And you can be in the best country on this planet and make it a hell for yourself."
Mr Taghinia still talks to the men who remain on Manus and, after hearing of several suicides and multiple attempts, fears for their mental health and their future.
"It's not ending, it just keeps happening, it's getting worse and worse," he said.
"It's just a crazy limbo for those people and I can feel them, I can hear them, I can feel I'm there.
"This shouldn't have happened, ever.
"I am sure there is going to be a day that in the future that Australia will feel sorry about what they've done."
Watch The Promised Land on Foreign Correspondent at 8:00pm on ABC TV and on iview.