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Family Bios: March 10, 2018

We will visit a family who consists of a father, age 38, and a mother, age 35, and seven daughters, ages, 6 months, 3, 6, 7, 9, 11, and 15.  They are from Syria and were fleeing the war in their country.  They arrived in the United States in September 2016 and came to Arizona through a process provided by the United Nations.  Prior to leaving Syria, the father had worked in the construction business, and he is currently employed at as a custodian.  The mother has always worked in the home.  The family is happy, and are excited about being able to live and learn in a safe environment.  They remarked that  the education system is the best thing about being in the United States.  The family’s dream is to have their own home as they are all now living in a two bedroom apartment.

 

We’ll also visit a family from Eritrea who includes of a father, age, 46, and a mother, age 42, and eight children (three sons, ages 23, 11, and 10, and five daughters, ages 22, 19, 17, 13, and 6).  The family arrived from Eritrea in December 2015 fleeing government persecution.  The oldest daughter was the spokesperson for the family, and she said that “there was no freedom in her country”.   Her father, who was a farmer, lost his farm as the government confiscated it and the family’s home.  Her father is currently working as a gardener, and her mother began a job at a courier company.  The oldest son is disabled (deaf and mute).  The oldest daughter just graduated from high school, and she will be studying nursing at Phoenix College beginning in March of this year,  She said that her high school assisted her in getting financial assistance so that she could attend college.  She noted that all of the other family members are currently in school, and they all enjoy their educational experiences here.  She describes living in the United States as “great”, and the family’s dream is to have a house for their large family as they are now living in a two bedroom apartment.

 

And we will visit a Congolese family that includes a father, age 70, a mother, age 56, and three sons, ages 34, 25, and 16, and three daughters, ages 21, 18, and 14, and three grandsons, ages 6, 4, and 6 months.  Their oldest daughter has the three sons, and this family lives in a separate apartment in the same complex.  The family is originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo but they fled their country in 1996, and they were in Tanzania in a refugee camp for 21 years before they came to the United States in June 2016 and settled in Arizona.  Prior to leaving his country, the father had his own boat and was a fisherman.  It was very difficult for him to work in the camp, and he developed a small business buying and selling items so that he could support his family.  The father is unable to work because of his medical problems but his wife is currently employed at a pizza chain. Their 25 year old son is working in a factory but wants to attend college and study mechanical engineering.  He is now trying to find financial assistance to attend school.  When asked about their experience in America, their 25 year old son who was studying English on the computer while we were at the home, responded that life is “great” compared to Africa but noted that it is still a struggle for the family.