The first family we will visit is originally from Burma. They fled Burma for Malaysia, where they spent over twenty years. They left Malaysia because their children could not get an education and there was increasing police force that made the country unsafe for them. The family consists a father, mother and their sons. The boys enjoy soccer and are also interested in skateboarding. The eldest son has a strong interest in computer software. He will join the Job Corps soon and is excited to acquire new computer programming skills. The father worked as a car mechanic in Malaysia while the mother was a homemaker. They hope to learn English, find employment for the father and educate their children in their new community in Arizona. They are happy to be in the U.S and are adjusting well.
The second visit will be to a family from Iraq. This family of five consists of a father, mother, twin boys and one girl. The mother is eight months pregnant! They are expecting a baby boy who is due to arrive on March 28th. The mom is having some difficulty walking due to pain in her legs so she uses a walker. The family left Iraq and moved to Turkey where they lived for two years before coming to Arizona. The father has a sister who lives in Arizona. She has helped the family adjust to their new home. The father was an electrician in Iraq, and his wife stayed home with the children. Their daughter enjoys ballet and dance and both boys enjoy painting. They feel very comfortable and safe in the United States. The family love the ability to find and cook food from their culture in Arizona.
The third home we will visit consists of a mother, two daughters, and one son from Iraq. The sisters came to Arizona first and their mom and brother came a little later. The eldest sister worked for a “green zone” company in Iraq which had ties to the United States. She was was asked to leave the country. They left Iraq because they did not feel safe. The eldest sister’s main concern is for the safety and comfort of her family. They are a family of artists who enjoy sewing, painting, and listening to music. Their brother enjoys playing video games on his xbox and their mom enjoys cooking and watching TV and movies. They are a very close and happy family who are adjusting well to their new home in Arizona.
The first family we will visit is a family of six from Cuba. The mother (34) and father (37) have four children. They have three sons (ages 20, 17 and 9) and a daughter (age 4). While there is some indication that outright repression on the island has lessened slightly, Cubans are still subject to a variety of restrictions on freedom of expression, private enterprise, and freedom of movement. The father was incarcerated for a year and half and the children experienced mistreatment. The family left Cuba and gained political asylum with the assistance of the U.S. government. The family arrived in Phoenix January 29th 2015. Their first apartment was infested with bed bugs which caused them to move, yet they are very pleased to be in Phoenix. The father worked as a licensed fisherman and operated a home business as a barber. The children are not currently attending school while they wait to complete medical requirements. The children want to learn to speak English and to further their educational goals. The father and older son are willing to work in any position. The wife has family who have been leaving in Phoenix for a year.
Another visit will be to a brother and sister who are from Burma. The young man is twenty-four years old and his sister is seventeen years old. Burma is a country that has been plagued by civil war for the past fifty years. Many families have been destroyed and left without parents due to massive genocide. These young people have lost both their father and their mother. The brother fled to Malaysia due to the civil war. After a year he was able to bring his sister to be with him. In the past he worked as a bus driver and as an assistant for the group which took him to be a soldier. In Malaysia he worked in an auto repair shop. The brother and sister arrived in Phoenix December 17th 2014. The sister has completed her education through seventh grade so she is enrolled in school as an eighth grader. She takes a bus to school and is in class from 8am to 2pm daily. She is learning to speak English in school. The brother is looking for work and will accept any work he is offered. One of the brother’s goals is to be reunited with his wife who is pregnant and is still in Malaysia.
A final visit will be to a family of nine from Somalia. The husband is forty-six years old and the wife is thirty-six years old. They have seven children. Their daughters are sixteen, eleven, eight and five. Their sixteen year old daughter has an intellectual disability. Their three sons are thirteen, twelve and two years old. Following the collapse of the central government in 1991, the constitution in Somalia was ignored. Various clan-based political coalitions and alliances control the country. The family fled Somalia in 1999 to a refugee camp in Botswana where they have lived for the past fifteen years. All the children except one were born in the refugee camp. The family arrived in Phoenix November 25th 2014. The husband is currently employed working in the warehouse of a local department store. . The children attend public school and are learning to speak English. They like their schools and want to continue to work toward their educational goals.
This Saturday we will visit Yolainy who is originally from Cuba. She lived in Spain for fourteen years where she worked as a store manager. Her son Manuel was born in Spain. The boy is 4 years old and has autism. He is a very smiley, welcoming child. The family arrived in the United States on October 2nd of 2014. Manuel’s father is visiting them in Phoenix currently, but he is not sure if he will stay here. Yolainy has a brother-in-law and a cousin who also live in Phoenix. She has applied for a position at a grocery store and is waiting to hear from them. We wish her the best of luck in her search for a job!
The first family we will visit is from Iraq. The mother is being reunited with her husband, who has been living in the United States for five years. They have a three-year old daughter and a baby due at the end of March. The father moved to the United States five years ago, but he has been able to go back to Iraq to visit his family. He applied for his family to join him, and they arrived in April. In the time that he has been here, the father has been able to secure work. The mother, a biochemical engineer, is also hoping to find work in her field after the baby is born. The family is excited to be together again!
The second family we will visit is from Bhutan. The father (37) and mother (35) have two children (ages 3 and 1). The parents both fled Bhutan as young children. They met in a refugee camp in Nepal, where they were married. Both of their children were born in Nepal. They were able to attend school. Both the mother and father know some English. The father is currently in training for a job at the airport, while the mother plans to stay home with their children. The father has a brother who lives in Phoenix, and the mother has family in Colorado whom they hope to visit soon. It will ease their adjustment to the Untied states to have family members for support.
The last family we will visit is from Somalia. A mother and her two children (ages 14 and 2) live with her sister and her sister’s son (age 6). The oldest child uses a wheelchair. The two sisters escaped the civil war in Somalia together. They originally fled to Ethiopia in 2008. The family arrived in Phoenix in September, after spending six years in a refugee camp. The mother’s sister has applied for several jobs in the area. She is working to improve her English while she waits to find out if she has been hired. The two older children are attending school. The mother stays home with her youngest son.