We’ll visit a family originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) who arrived in the Phoenix two years ago. They left the DRC 15 years ago and fled to the neighboring country of Uganda where they remained in a refugee camp. It was there that the father of this family, who had health problems, passed away, leaving his widow with 5 children to raise. She worked in farming in Uganda to support the family. Since arriving in Phoenix, she and her 25 year-old son (who plays the guitar well) have found jobs while the other four children (two girls ages 19 and 12, and two boys ages 16 and 20) attend high school. They have had their share of challenges since arriving here, but have continued to work hard to improve their situation. They are happy to be in America.
We’ll also visit a family from Afghanistan who arrived in the US just one month ago. They left Afghanistan three years ago because of the poor, unsafe conditions and lived in Pakistan until receiving visas to come to America. The father of this family was an engineer, but his whereabouts are unknown at this time. The mother, grandmother, two daughters (ages 15 & 16) and a son (age 13) came on their own to Phoenix. They are so pleased to be here where they feel safe, are getting settled and registered in high school, and have dreams of furthering their education. The 16 year-old would like to become a judge, the 15 year-old President of the US, and the 13 year-old a doctor.
And we’ll visit a young man who arrived in Phoenix six weeks ago. He is originally from Eritrea, but because of his conversion to Christianity, he was persecuted and imprisoned for 4 years. He had been a math teacher before leaving Eritrea, fled to Djibouti where he lived in a refugee camp for 5 years. He met his wife there, who is pregnant and due this month with their first child. He is looking for work in Phoenix, is teaching at a local Christian church, and trying to bring his wife to join him in America.
We’ll visit a family who had to flee the unrest and violence in their home country, the Democratic Republic of Congo. They escaped to Uganda, where they lived in a refugee camp and where some of the children were born. It was not possible for refugee families to get regular work in Uganda, but these parents were able to grow some of their food such as corn and beans. There are four sons (ages 13, 12, 11,7) and three daughters ( 5,3,1). They have been in Arizona less than two months, but seem optimistic and lively. The children are really looking forward to getting enrolled in school after this holiday season.
We’ll also visit a mother and her children, originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, who spent time in Malawi before being resettled in Arizona. The children have been in school here for several months now and like it very much. They have new friends in their apartment/school community . Unfortunately, their mother is in poor health.
And we will visit a third family, also from the Democratic Republic of Congo, who is related to the above mentioned family. The children and their father spent time in a refugee camp in Tanzania before being resettled here. They have been in Arizona now for about 7 months. The children enjoy school and are learning English quickly.
We’ll visit a large family who recently arrived from Afghanistan. The father worked for an American company and this put the family in danger. They left their grandparents and friends behind and relocated to Arizona. The father speaks English well. He is teaching his wife and younger kids some English and asked for a television, so they can learn English through watching television programs. They miss their grandparents but say that they are safe. The kids were registered in school the last week before winter vacation, so they could get used to school and make some new friends. They are happy at school, the father says. The father has a friend who arrived the same day and lives in same area, so they support each other.
We will visit a second family from Afghanistan that includes a husband, wife and their 1 year old son and 5 year old twin daughters. We will learn more about the family when we visit
We’ll visit a family whose extended family consists of three generations. There are eleven people living in the household. The paternal grandmother, age 75, the father, age, 47, the mother, age 40, and eight children. There are five boys, ages 13, 11, 7, 4 and 2, and three girls, ages 9, 8, and 3 months. The youngest child was born premature. She is still on oxygen and has already had cardiac surgery but she appears to be doing well now. The family is Eritrean but the grandparents fled the war in Eritrea and settled in a refugee camp in Sudan where all of their children and grandchildren were born except for the youngest child, who was born in the US. The parents received religious education but did not go to a public school. The family was brought to Arizona in December 2016 by the IRC because of the war that was then going on in Sudan. The wife is a homemaker. The husband worked in a restaurant as a waiter in Sudan. He was employed for a month in a Phoenix warehouse before his mother became ill and was hospitalized. He quit his job to take care of her, and he is now looking for employment. The children now “love school” and they are teaching their mother English. She was going to language classes at IRC but had to leave after two weeks because she delivered her daughter prematurely. When asked about the dreams they have for the family, the mother focused on the importance of their children being educated and having the opportunity for a bright future.
And we’ll visit a family who arrived in mid November 2017. They are originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo. They left their country because of the war and spent 20 years in a refugee camp in Tanzania. The father is taking English classes and speaks some English. Four of the children are attending school. There ages are 16, 13, 10 and 7. The oldest daughter is 18 years old and helps mom take care of the youngest daughter (age 1). When the mom was asked what she misses about her country she said she does not feel connected to her country, all she remembers is war and she left young. She mentioned the biggest difference in Arizona is the weather. She is grateful, feels safer and likes that the kids get food at school. She said in the refugee camp access to food was difficult and they had to walk long distances for medications and supplies.