We’ll visit a young man originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He fled with his family seven years ago when their village was attacked. Separated from the rest of the family along with his father, they initially traveled to Burundi, where his father later died. He was then sent to a camp in Kenya where he completed high school and was reunited five years later with his mother and six siblings. He was given the option to come to the United States by himself this year, and his family encouraged him to take advantage of this opportunity, but he hopes to eventually have his family join him in the United States. He asked to be sent to Arizona because he had a very close friend here who arranged for him to stay temporarily with another friend. Since arriving in Arizona three months ago, he has found employment and is also attending classes to earn his GED at Rio Salado College. He hopes to have his own apartment with a friend in the future, and is planning on attending college to study nursing. He has become involved in a Congolese Church where members are very supportive of him and appreciate his musical talent. He sings and plays guitar in their services.
We’ll also visit a Rhohinga family of four from Myan Mar, including mom, dad, a seven-year old son and a four-year old daughter. Dad left Myan Mar in 1995 for Malaysia, where he met his wife in 2011. Dad worked construction in Malaysia and is now working at a tissue paper factory. All family members are learning English and their son is in school. They are happy to be in the United States and starting their new life.
We’ll visit a newly arrived family of 10 from the Democratic Republic of Congo and learn more about them on Saturday.
We will greet a family from both Iraq & Syria. The dad fled Iraq with his 9-year-old daughter and 6 year-old son. They settled in Jordan for 3 1/2 years, but because he was not Jordanian, it was difficult to find work. He met his new wife there, who fled from Syria, and together they were able to be granted asylum in the United Stages, first living in Nebraska for 4 years. Their son, now 4 years-old, was born there. They sold most of their possessions they had acquired in Nebraska to move to Phoenix, to a warmer climate more like home. They have now lived in Phoenix for about 3 months. The mom is now pregnant with another baby, due in October. The now 15-year-old daughter has learned English well, first being enrolled at the YMCA in Nebraska to learn. She will be entering high school in the fall, and dreams to be a surgeon someday. Her father is working in a meat packing plant, and her mother works in the stockroom at Walmart. Mom wants her children to be educated here and take advantage of all the opportunities available here in America.
We will also greet a single woman who after witnessing the killing of her father, escaped the Democratic Republic of Congo with her mother, 5 sisters and 2 brothers in 2004 and landed in Uganda. She lived there with her family for 15 years, working as a manager at a casino. In 2012, they all began the process of seeking asylum in the United States. Only this 32-year-old woman was granted asylum. The rest of her family continues to pursue joining her in America. She has only been here 2 months, has completed the training as a caregiver, and is hoping to find a job very soon. She would like to continue her education at some point.
And we will meet a single mother with 8 children who fled the Democratic Republic of Congo many years ago and has been in refugee camp in Tanzania. Most of her children were born in camp. The family arrived to Phoenix only a few weeks ago. The children look forward to the start of school.
We’ll visit roommates from the Democratic Republic of Congo. They arrived 2 months ago from a refugee camp in Rwanda. The group includes a mom and her 15 year-old daughter who live with another mom with two kids, ages 7 (girl) and 2 (boy). The children have lived their entire lives in a refugee camp. The oldest, age 15, likes math and wants to be an accountant
We’ll then visit a woman from Iran and her 2 children who arrived from Turkey a few weeks ago. She spent much of her life persecuted for her faith, feeling threatened at all times. She fled to Turkey and eventually was granted asylum to the United States. Her daughter, age 22, is studying to be a dental assistant. Her 19 year-old son is taking classes.
We’ll also visit a set of roommates, a woman from the Democratic Republic of Congo and the other woman from Afghanistan. The DRC woman lived in a refugee camp for almost all of her life, having fled war in her home country. Her roommate knows war too and escaped Afghanistan to Turkey, where she lived for several years before settling here. They have both been here only a few weeks. Their challenge is unique in that they are roommates who do not yet share a common language.
And we’ll visit life long friends who escaped persecution in Eritrea by fleeing to Ethiopia. They were teenagers when they ran to safety and now are 22 and 24. Their apartment was completely empty when we visited and we look forward to furnishing their very first home.
We will be visiting a family of five, with mother, father, two daughters (ages 5 and 7) and a son (age 9). The father fled his village in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1996 because his life was in danger. He finally settled in Burundi in 2003 where he lived in the community, working as a bus driver. In Burundi, he met his wife and they went on to have their three children. They arrived in Arizona on March 12, 2019, and the husband said that he “thanks God” they are here. The two older children have started school, and like it, and a week ago the father started working in a food preparation plant. He said that his dream is “to do something good in America.”
We will also visit a family originally from Eritrea. The mother and father have two daughters (ages 2 and 10), and two sons (ages 6 and 13). They left the country 8 years ago because of problems with the political party in power. They had imprisoned the wife’s brother who later died in custody. The family fled to Ethiopia where they lived in a refugee camp for eight years. The camp provided security for the family but food and clothing rations were very limited. Both parents graduated from teaching colleges in Eritrea and taught in the school system in the camp. They arrived in Arizona on April 3, 2019, and feel “very fortunate” to be in this country. They are looking forward to finding work and being able to change the family’s life. The husband’s dream is to become a truck driver and his wife hopes to further her education and continue to work with children. The children love soccer and are looking forward to attending school next term.
We will also welcome an extended family from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The father and mother have four adult children – three sons (ages 23, 27, and 28) and a daughter (age 32) who also has two children, a daughter (age 2) and a son (age 7). They fled the DRC because of war in 2001 and settled in Burundi where they lived within the community with families who helped them. The family arrived together in Arizona on March 6, 2019, and are very happy to be settled here. They occupy two apartments adjacent to each other with the parents and their daughter and grandchildren in one apartment, and the three adult sons in the other apartment. They look forward to the opportunities for education and employment in their new country.