November 29, 2014

One family we will visit consists of a husband (age 30) and wife (age 26) who are expecting their first child in early December.  The husband just started working at a cutlery company last week. The husband is from Eritrea. He fled his country for Ethiopia because of war when he was a high school student, leaving the rest of his family behind.  He hoped to be able to continue to study, which he was not able to do in his country. He lived in a refugee camp in Ethiopia where he met his wife. The wife is Ethiopian. The couple arrived in Illinois in February 2014 where they lived until they moved to Arizona two months ago. The couple have no family here, but they have Ethiopian friends who help with their adjustment to Arizona, and with translation when the wife needs it. The wife does not speak English yet, but she plans to take English classes after their baby is born. They live in a studio apartment. The wife has decorated with beautiful baskets that she wove while still living in Ethiopia. A caseworker is trying to help her secure materials to weave more baskets, and to look for a way to market and sell them here. The couple is happy to be in America and believe that they will have a better life here.

Another family we will visit this week consists of a husband (age 31) and wife (age 19). They arrived in Arizona from Afghanistan in late September of this year. The husband speaks English fluently. He is teaching his wife to speak English, and she also plans to attend English classes at a nearby school. The husband has a college degree in structural engineering. He worked for the American government for five years on a variety of civilian and military projects. He is proud of the contributions he made constructing roads and bases for his country. His home village was outside Kabul and he believed militants there would eventually kill him. His manager assisted him and his wife with their move to the United States. The couple have no family here but they have become close friends with an Afghan family they met on the plane when they left Afghanistan. They are currently living in the same apartment complex. The husband was scheduled to begin a temporary job with Amazon but he was in a car accident last week. He injured his finger and was not able to start work. He was disappointed but he is actively seeking other employment. He has a computer with internet access which is very helpful. The wife is a tailor. She would like to find employment in her field after she learns English.  They would both like to pursue higher education when they are financially stable. The couple is happy to be in America because they feel safe here.

Another family we will visit family consists of a husband (age 28) wife (age 29), and their two children. They have a four year old son and a one year old daughter. The family is from Afghanistan. They are close friends with the other Afghani family we will visit this week, whom they met on their flight to the United States. The husband worked in logistics for the American military in Afghanistan. He has a degree from the Faculty of Literature at Kabul University. The family left Afghanistan because of death threats against the husband from militants and the Taliban. The only family they have in the U.S. is an uncle who lives in Las Vegas. Unfortunately they have not been able to contact the uncle.  They are happy in Arizona. The wife, who is a tailor and a cook, would like to learn English.  She would like to use her skills to work here. Her husband hopes to improve his education and also to find work here.


March 1, 2014

Eritrean FlagThe first family we will visit is originally from Eritrea. They left their country because of the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea. They lived in Ethiopian refugee camp for thirteen years. In the camp they were given fifty kilos of wheat per month, no medical treatment, and no work. They left a mother, brother and daughter behind at the camp. They hope these family members will be able to join them soon. This family consists of mother (45), two sons (ages 21 and 14) and two daughters (ages 10 and6). The mother has a daughter who has been living in Arizona for five years.  The daughter has a job so they have some support. When they first arrived, they would enter apartment and lock doors in fear, now they have ventured out, met neighbors and learned about the area and think “life is good.”

Democratic Republic of Congo flagThe second family consists of a brother (age 24), a sister (age 26) and the sister’s daughter who is two years old. The brother and sister fled the Democratic republic of Congo after both of their parents died. They spent nine years in a refugee camp in Rwanda. The brother left his wife and two beautiful young children back in Rwanda, because they were not yet married when they applied for resettlement. The sister’s two year old child is bright and lively. She would love some toys and candy. The brother likes to play the guitar and keyboard and to listen to gospel music. They hope that the rest of their family will be able to join them in Arizona soon.

The last family we will visit arrived in Arizona recently and were reunited after time apart. The father has been here for a while and he is employed. The mother and daughters arrived recently. The whole family moved to a larger apartment. They need things to make their house a home. The youngest girl is waiting for her vaccinations so she can start school. They feel blessed to all be together and feel uncomfortable asking for things they need.

February 22, 2014

Iraqi FlagThe first family we will visit is from Iraq. The husband (35) and wife (28) are expecting their first baby this month; it’s a girl! The husband was an anesthesiologist in Iraq, while the wife did research in the field of Biology. They both speak English very well. They each have family who remain in Iraq, and they are hopeful that the husband’s brother will be coming to the United States soon. This family is very excited to be living in safety in the United States, and they are looking forward to the birth of their first child! The baby will be a U.S. citizen!

The second family we will visit is from Cuba. There are two brothers (47 and 46), and the son of the older brother (19), who share an apartment. This family is happy to be reuniting with another brother and their mother who have been living in the United States for many years. The family left Cuba because of the difficult political and economic situation. They still have family who are living in Cuba. In fact, the younger brother’s wife and child remain in Cuba. He hopes that they will be able to come to the United States after he finds work. The older brother taught drafting in Cuba. He was also forced to take odd jobs, as was required by the government. The younger brother is a painter who specialized in both painting cars and doing graphic design for storefronts. He is also a poet. The son just finished high school. The family is eager to learn English and to find work as soon as possible. They love their new life in Phoenix – they are excited for the future. Of course, they are very happy to be reunited with their family.

The third family we will visit is from Iraq. The father (42) and mother (39) have four children (ages 16, 14, 13, and 10). They also have a new baby on the way! The family fled Iraq for security reasons. The father owned a store in Iraq, and the mother was a teacher. All of the children attended school in Iraq, and most of them already speak some English. The family has been in Arizona for three months. The dad has already found a good job. The children are very excited about their schools. They are enjoying life in the United States. The mother is a little lonely as she adjusts to life in her new country. Yet she is looking forward to meeting new people, and to the arrival of the new baby this summer!