Our first home visit was with a small family from Somalia consisting of a young widowed mother and her daughter. They fled Somalia in 2006 and went to Egypt. Even though she was a refugee, she was able to live outside of the refugee camp in an apartment and work in a retail store. In the future, she would like to work retail again. They have only been in Arizona for a few weeks and the young woman indicated that where she lives now is almost too quiet as she is used to the city noise back in Egypt. They have made friends with fellow Somali neighbors and often sleep at a friend’s apartment so they are not alone at night. The mom speaks both Somali and Arabic, but no English yet. Having a television and educational materials would help them learn the language. Additionally, a bike for the daughter (age 4) and household items such as a dresser, a DVD player/movies, wall décor, a vacuum cleaner, and bath linens would make their apartment more comfortable.
Our second family was also from Somalia. When we arrived, we were greeted by the wife and three adorable children who have been in Arizona less than two months. She and her husband had left Somalia in 2004 and made their way to Ethiopia, Sudan, Libya and Egypt. The three youngest children were born along the way. She also indicated that they have two older children being cared for by relatives in Somalia. The separation was clearly distressing for the mom. She explained that at the time of their departure from Somalia, they did not know how dangerous their journey would be so they made the heartbreaking decision to leave their eldest son and daughter behind in Mogadishu, thinking they would be safe. However, the continuing drought and unstable political situation in Somalia has made it difficult to pinpoint exactly where their children are at this time. She is still hopeful that they will be reunited some day. Presently, their apartment is quite bare and in need of many things. Dressers, a small file cabinet, a tricycle, kid-friendly décor, and bed/bath linens would be welcome additions.
Our final home visit was with a small family of three from Bhutan. The husband told us that his family had fled their homeland in 1992. He was approximately 11 years old at that time and said his father had been a farmer. They went to Nepal where they lived in a refugee camp for 19 years. The couple met in the camp and have been married five years. They have one daughter who is three years old. Life was very difficult for them, but the husband was able to make a little money working construction jobs. They arrived in Phoenix in late June and feel fortunate to have been resettled near his mother and a brother who live in the same apartment complex. There is an elder brother still in Nepal who is hoping to come to the U.S. soon. The husband is hoping to be employed soon and requested a bike to make it easier to commute to appointments. A vacuum cleaner, a large pot, wall décor, a tricycle and toys would also be appreciated.