The first family we will visit this week is from Iraq. The father is 45 years old. He worked as a mechanical supervisor for the United States Military. His life was threatened because of his position with our military. The mother in this family is 39 years old. She is a homemaker who stayed home to care for their children. This couple has four beautiful children: two daughters (ages 13 and 1) and two sons (ages 10 and 7). The three older children have been attending school for two weeks, and they are very excited to learn English. The family feels that their new life in Arizona is safe and wonderful!
The second family we will visit came from Iraq to join a son who fled their country three years ago. His employment in the U.S. military put him at risk. He has opened his own business in Arizona was able to apply for his father, mother and two brothers to follow him. The father (56), mother (53) and one brother (24) arrived on January 9th. There is one last brother in Iraq who was denied entrance to the United States. The mother is very emotional because she misses that son. The father was an engineer in Iraq. The mother had a career as an elementary school principal, while the the son was a lawyer. They are happy to be united with family here, but miss their work and the family that remain in Iraq.
The third family is a family of six from Somalia. They all speak Somali, and have not learned English yet. The father is thirty-two years old and the mother is thirty. There are three daughters (ages 9, 5 and 1) and one son (age 3). The older girls like to color while the father and son like to play soccer. The family is friendly and energetic and they all try to communicate with visitors. We are certain that their interest in communicating in English will help them to learn the language pretty quickly, which will help with their adjustment to their new home
We will visit a family from Iraq. This family consists of the father (47), mother (36) and two sons (8 and 5). The father is an electrician. He worked in substations in several places during his career. He worked for both the French government and the U.S. Army. The family faced threats before the U.S. Army left Iraq. They applied to leave Iraq and it took two years for their application to be approved. Although they still have family in Iraq, the father’s brother is also living in Phoenix. He arrived here around the same time as the family. The family arrived in Phoenix at the end of august. The father is has already found employment at a local casino. The older son is attending school, which he loves. The younger son is bright boy who loves to draw pictures. The mother hopes for a prosperous future for her family and a good education for her sons. “We aspire to a bright future,” she says.
Another family we will visit is from Burma. The family includes the father (42), mother (30), one son (4) and three daughters (8, 6 and 11). The father and mother’s families were farmers in Burma. The couple met in a refugee camp in Thailand where they married and had their children. The father spent twenty years in the refugee camp while the mother was there for seventeen years. They have no family left in Burma. The three older children love attending school. Their parents also like Phoenix very much. They hope to study English to ensure a better future for themselves and their children.
We will visit a second family from Iraq. This family consists of the father (39), mother (40), three sons (14, 13, and 10) and one daughter (2). The family left Iraq in 2006 to seek refuge in Syria. The father is a blacksmith, so he was able to find some work in Syria. The family applied for refugee status in 2009, while they were still living in Syria. However, they moved back to Iraq in 2012 due to the conflict in Syria. The family has endured several tragedies during their life in Iraq. As a result of those tragedies this transition has been somewhat difficult for them. However they are very grateful to be in a safe place. The children are bright and playful. The boys are very proud of their education and aspire to go to college.
The first two households we will visit consist of members of the same family. The first household consists of father (45), mother (33), five sons (ranging in age from 1 to 15) and daughter (age 3). The second household consists of two other sons (ages 20 and 16). The parents left Somalia in 1996 and relocated to Kenya. The father worked as a waiter in Kenya while the mother stayed at home with the children. The eldest son is the only one of their children who was born in Somalia. The father and the oldest son are looking forward to studying and working in their new community in Arizona. Both parents will be taking English classes soon. The oldest son speaks English. Five of the children are enrolled in school. The wife has family who remain in Somali with whom she is still in contact. The family feels secure here and is looking forward to a bright future in the United States.
The family in the third household we will visit is from Iraq. This family is made up of a father (age 26) and a mother (age 27) and a one year old daughter. They applied for a visa to immigrate to the United States in 2011, had an interview in 2012 and received their visa in 2013. The father worked as an interpreter with the US Army. He worked with his wife’s brother who introduced him to his wife. When he met her, he knew she was ‘the one”, and they married shortly after their first meeting. They have some friends in the community, which should help their adjustment to their new home. The father is interested in joining the army as soon as possible. The wife hopes to take English classes soon.
Our first delivery is to two young women from Afghanistan who lived most of their lives in Iran. One, who is 34 years old, was only able to attend Iranian schools through about the 8th grade, and even that was a struggle for her family. As a foreigner, she could only find work as a seamstress. Her first job in Arizona is doing custodial work in a hotel. She hopes she will be able to get more training and find better work soon. This young woman enjoys doing crochet – volunteers might notice an attractive piece of her work on a small table in their living room. The other young woman is 31 years old and was able to earn the equivalent of a BA in public health in Iran. Nonetheless, as a foreigner in Iran her education did not count so she had no hope of finding meaningful work. She hopes to be able to continue her education in Arizona, though probably not in the same field. She has already applied to college and is seeking a scholarship. Their families fled Afghanistan because of the war and civil strife there, and they lived in Iran as outsiders. They have great hope that they are now to be in a place where they are safe, and can move forward in their lives.
The second delivery will be to an Afghan mother and her daughter. They fled war-torn Afghanistan decades ago and lived in Iran from the time the daughter was 3 or 4 years old. They had very few opportunities in Iran because they were living there as foreigners. The daughter is now 34 years old, and she does not have any formal education. When they came to Arizona, she and her mother left behind the rest of their family. She has adult sisters and brothers who have either returned to Afghanistan or remained in Iran. The 71 year old mother misses them terribly and is also grieving the loss of her husband, who died 6 years ago.
Another delivery will be to two young men from Iran. One is 36 years old, the other is 29 years old. One of the men has recently arrived. One is disabled and gets around with the help of crutches and a wheelchair.
The final family we will visit is an Iranian family of three who arrived in Arizona on December 6th. The father was a locksmith in Iran. They lived in Turkey for three years where they had to exhaust all of their money to support themselves and their children. They have a daughter who lives in Los Angeles. Shortly after this week’s WTAP delivery the family will be moving to an apartment closer to their two sons, who arrived in the valley in 2009. They have help with the move and are not concerned about moving the furniture from this apartment to the new one. They will be happy to be living near their sons, and grateful for the help they receive from WTAP and our volunteers!