This first family we will visit is from Iraq. The mother (38) and her two sons (19, 15) arrived in Phoenix August of 2010. When her husband died in Iraq she decided to leave with her sons. They spent five tough years in Jordan. The boys received physical punishment in school if they did not understand instructions and asked for clarification. They have been here a little over a year and are very thankful. They are happy with the schools and doctors. Her youngest son had surgery on his collapsed lungs and is recovering well. The older son is in school and learning English very quickly. He also likes to play guitar. Mom takes English classes and would like to get her GED and a cosmetology license.
The second family we will visit is also from Iraq. The family consists of a brother (28) and sister (31). They arrived in August of 2011 after spending a year in Turkey. The brother was a nurse in Iraq. He is eager to learn English and get a nursing degree so he can work in the U.S. Soon after he arrived he married a woman who arrived two years earlier and is a family friend. His wife currently has a job at McDonalds and is learning Spanish as her third language. The sister worked as a seamstress in Iraq and was sleeping when we visited. The rest of their family remains in Iraq in unsafe conditions. They hope to be united with them someday.
The last family we will visit, also from Iraq, arrived in August. The father (51) helped US troops in Iraq with satellite dishes which put himself and his family in danger. They decided to leave Iraq after being threatened. They lived in Syria for 7 years. Life in Syria was difficult and it was hard to find jobs. The wife (43) and misses her mother who remains in Syria. She also has a brother who lives in Chicago. The son is 21 and the daughter is 16 and attending high school. The daughter would like to go to nursing school. Except for the daughter, this family seems bored and isolated, but mentioned they have some family members who live nearby and help them with transportation.