One family we will visit this Saturday is from Baghdad, Iraq. The family consists of a father and mother who have three children who were able to make the trip to live with them in Phoenix. They have an adult son who is being detained in Iraq. The two adult sons who are in Phoenix worked construction/carpentry jobs in Iraq and they enjoy boxing in their free time. One son just suffered a bike accident. He will need to have shoulder surgery which will delay his job search a bit. Their daughter is fifteen years old. She will be entering high school in August. She loves to play tennis and her favorite color is black. She would love to receive beauty products/curling iron/etc. so she can dress like the other girls here. The mother enjoys embroidery and her favorite decorating colors are red and white.
The seven members of the second family we will visit relocated to Phoenix late April, 2015. The family was originally from a small village in Afghanistan. In 2008 they moved to Iran and then to Turkey before they moved to the US to avoid political and religious conflict in their homeland. The father was a farmer and cattle breeder in Afghanistan while the mother kept very busy with the five children. The father’s goal is to work at night to provide for a brighter future for the children than that which he experienced. Theparents believe that educating their childrenwill set them up for a successful future. The whole family is excited for school to start in a few weeks. What they like most about the US that it is calm and peaceful here for people of all religious beliefs, and how easy it is to be comfortable here if one just follows the rules and laws.
The final family we will visit is a family of four from Baghdad, Iraq. In their home country the father was employed at a pharmacy while the mother was a writer in the area of technology and biology. They came to the United States in late May, 2015. Neither of the parents have found jobs in Arizona yet. They are working on their English skills and getting settled. The couple has two adorable children. They have a daughter (age 11) whose favorite color is purple and who loves playing the guitar. They also have a son (age 8) who loves anything blue, plays all kinds of games and is a soccer lover. Like many boys his age, nothing would make him happier than a playstation video system! The family can’t wait to explore more of Arizona and the U.S.!
One of our visits this Saturday will be to a nineteen year old young man from Guatemala. He came to the United States when he was seventeen years old. He fled the violence and instability in his home country. He came to the U.S through the sponsorship of Catholic Charities just before his eighteenth birthday. Since his arrival he has been working to earn his GED and to learn to speak English well enough to attend college. He would like to be a Physician’s Assistant or a Phlebotomist. He is currently employed in a nice fast food restaurant where he studying to take the test to become an assistant manager.
We will visit a couple who are medical professional refugees from Cuba. They are engaged to be married. They have not seen their children, who remain in Cuba, for over a year. The man has a son (age 19) who loves baseball. The woman has a daughter who is sixteen years old. The family hopes to be together in Arizona within the next month or so. The couple were both nurses who worked on a Cuban contract in Jamaica for the past three years. They enjoy Christian music and salsa – they love to dance! The gentleman is working as a medical assistant at an Urgent Care clinic in the area while his fiancé is getting the home set up and working to perfect her English. She is already quite proficient but will have more opportunities once she becomes fluent.
Our third visit will be to a twenty-five year old woman who arrived in Arizona from Cuba five months ago. She is a medical professional who trained in the field of radiology. She has been working in Venezuela. When she decided to leave Cuba, she fled to Colombia where she rented a place while her visa was being processed. She likes everything about the United States, although, she would prefer Arizona to be a little less hot in the summers! She is working in packaging in a paper plant. She hopes to get back into the medical field when she is more fluent in English.
One family we will visit fled Somalia in 2010 due to the civil war. Their journey took them across many border. They ultimately landed in Turkey. They spent five years in Turkey before they gained refugee status and were able to immigrate to the United States.
The second family we will visit is from Iraq. The father and mother live with their adult daughter (age 25) and her daughter (age 4). The family fled Iraq after their son-in-law was assassinated, and they feared for their lives. They lived in Turkey for three years before they were resettled in Phoenix. The father was a mechanical engineer in Iraq. He speaks English, but is eager to improve his skills. The mother and daughter will enroll in English classes soon. The young granddaughter is already picking up some English words. This family has endured much hardship and heartbreak. They are all happy to be safe here in Phoenix, and to be reunited with the mother’s brother and his family, whom they see every couple weeks. When refugees relocate to another country their transition is often much easier when they have the support of family members who have immigrated before them. This family will have an easier adjustment to their new life and community because of the guidance and knowledge of the mother’s brother and his family.
The third family we will see is from Somalia. The father and mother have a one year old daughter. The father is from Mogadishu and the mother is from a small village in northern Somalia. They both left Somalia in 2008. They met at Sheder Refugee Camp in Ethiopia, where they were married. Their daughter was born in the refugee camp. The father was a graphic artist in Somalia. He still likes to do that work, but in the refugee camp in Ethiopia he took on the responsibilities of a community worker for the International Refugee Committee. His job was to help his fellow refugees get ready for the transition to their new homes. The mother is a seamstress who completed her training for her trade in Ethiopia. She is hoping to receive a sewing machine so she can continue her craft. The mother has a sister who lives in Phoenix who arrived shortly before she did. The family is happy to be together and safe here in their new home.
Our dedicated volunteers are taking the day off to celebrate Independence Day, so our next deliveries will take place on July 11.
One family we will visit is from Iraq. The family consists of a husband (age 37) and wife (age 30). They have two sons who are eight and ten years old. The family is Catholic. The husband worked in a hotel, which others viewed as a club. He and his family received death threats because of his work, and because of the family’s religion. The family has relatives in Jordan and Iraq. When they first fled Iraq they stayed in Jordan for a while before they were able to immigrate to the States. The family fled Iraq because of the threats against them and arrived in Arizona on 31 March. The husband is currently working in a warehouse, and he is learning English. His wife was a beautician and cosmetologist in Iraq. She would like to continue in this field but she is also interested in continuing her education. She would like to get a degree in Business Administration. She is currently attending ESL classes to learn English. The boys feel that attending school is the best part of living in the United States. The youngest boy loves computers and hopes to work in that field someday. The older boy would like to become a lawyer.
Our next visit will be to two male Burmese refugees (ages 32 and 55) who share a studio apartment. Both men are married and left their families behind when they came to the United States in April of 2015. The older man is Rohingen. He fled Burma in 2002 because of the persecution he experienced. He had worked as a boat repairman but found it increasingly difficult to work because of government restrictions on his ethnic group. He left his wife (age 50), his daughter (age 29), and two sons (ages 15 and 28) in Malaysia. His daughter is now married, and he has a grandchild. He is in contact with his family and they are very troubled because of the situation in the country. He is working with his case manager to bring his family to the States. The gentleman had an illegal immigration status in Malaysia and was arrested twice by the police. He spent one month in jail. The Malaysian government sent him to Thailand but he found it to be even more difficult to survive there, so he returned to Malaysia. He was granted a visa to the United States because he has medical problems. He is currently undergoing treatment and will be having surgery shortly. He feels America is better place for him to live: he is safe and there are no police waiting to arrest him.
The younger of the roommates (age 32) has a very similar story. He also suffered persecution in Burma because of his Muslim faith. He had little opportunity to work. He fled to Malaysia where he married a Malaysian woman. They have a young child. The young man was able to immigrate to the United States because of his refugee status. Unfortunately his wife and young child were not able to accompany him because they are Malaysian citizens. He is desperate to have his family join him in the United States. He keeps their photograph over his bed. It will be difficult for his case manager to arrange for his family to come to the United States because they are not considered to be refugees. The young man is currently employed in a factory.