We will visit a couple who is originally from Somalia. They arrived in Arizona in October 2018. The 31 year old husband had left his country in 2000 because of the fighting and settled in Yemen until 2013. He was primarily a student while he lived there but fled Yemen because of the political turmoil in the country. He finally arrived in a refugee camp on Nauru, an Australian island, three months after he left Yemen. He traveled through both Indonesia and Christmas Island before he reached his destination. His wife is 37 and pregnant with their first child. She fled Somalia in 2013 because of the war in the country and met her husband while they were both on the journey to Nauru. She had previously worked as a cook in Somalia but neither she or her husband was able to work in the camp. They described the camp conditions as deplorable, and there was widespread violence against the refugees by the natives there. The couple married in Nauru in 2017. They are both very happy to finally reach the safety of the United States and to be able to take advantage of the many opportunities to improve their lives and that of their future children. The husband is actively looking for employment. The couple is focusing now on improving their English skills, and the husband’s future goal is to finish high school and then pursue further education.
We will also meet a family of four from the Democratic Republic of Congo. They fled SRC for their safety to Tanzania where they lived in refugee camp for 15 years. The father was able to find work fixing machinery while in refugee camp. He met and married his wife and they had two children in the camp. The father worked at at plant nursery and is currently employed in retail. Their oldest child will soon be in school. And they have another child due soon. We look forward to meeting them this Saturday.
This week, we are happy to welcome an Ethiopian family of three who lived in Nairobi, Kenya. The parents worked hard at odd jobs to make ends meet. The father worked as a street vendor selling water and snacks. The mother worked at a hair salon and at a coffee shop. Although the parents are both from Ethiopia, they did not meet until they each fled to Nairobi. Their young son is 5 years old and is already adapting well to the new environment. His current interests include watching movies and playing soccer with his father. The whole family is settling comfortably into their new home and are excited for the opportunities the U.S. will provide for them.
Also, we will be meeting a Congolese family of four, but soon to be five with an expecting mother. After fleeing difficult individual circumstances as chikdren, the parents settled into a refugee camp where they eventually met. While at the refugee camp, the father taught mathematics to other refugees, since he was a high school teacher prior to his move. Although they have only been in the U.S. for a short time, the parents are working hard to learn English. The father is currently looking for a job to support his growing family. Overall, the family is happy to begin a new chapter here in the U.S.
Lastly, we are excited to be welcoming a gentleman from the Democratic Republic of Congo. He was a former barber and tailor. He fled DRC and settled in a refugee camp in Malawi for 7 years. He is currently living in an apartment with three other refugee individuals. Although he is not employed, he actively seeking job opportunities available here in the U.S.
We will visit a family who is originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). They fled their home 20 years ago because of the war within the country. The mother, age 35, has six children all of whom were born in the refugee camp in Tanzania before she came to the United States in July 2016. Her daughters are ages 14, 12, and 3, and her sons are ages 10, 7, and 4. She originally settled in Phoenix where she had relatives residing but she moved later to Tucson to find employment. She returned to Phoenix in September 2018 and is currently looking for employment. Her children are doing well in school but she finds it challenging being the only caretaker for them. She is pleased that she can now provide a safe environment for her children and hopes that their lives will continue to improve.
We will also meet a family from Rwanda who fled their country in 1994 because of chaos and danger in the country. They settled in Tanzania but were only able to remain there two years before being sent back to Rwanda in 1996. The father mentioned was imprisoned for political reasons for three years in Rwanda and said the family had to leave again in 2000. They settled in Malawi where they lived in a refugee camp for 18 years before coming to Arizona in September 2018. The father, age 67, and his wife, age 66, have a daughter, age 29, and a son, age 28, who are living with them. The daughter is currently employed by a paper company in the area. The son was working but had to stop temporarily because he broke his arm. The family is very happy to be in the United States, and the father is searching for work so that he could buy a car which would make life easier for them.
And we will meet a family originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo but fled the war there in 1996 settling in a refugee camp in Tanzania where they lived for 22 years. All of the mother’s six children were born in the camp and were educated there. The mother, age 42, has four daughters, ages 19,16, 14, and 3, and two sons, ages 12 and 8. The family arrived in Arizona in September 2018, and the children are all in school and doing well. The mother who was a farmer in her own country worked as a cleaning woman in the refugee camp. She is now employed by Papa John’s, and her oldest daughter is working in a nearby laundromat. This daughter hopes someday to be able to go to school as she loves learning. Her siblings have told their mother that they have dreams of being in the medical and legal professions.
We will meet a woman originally from Eritrea who arrived in Phoenix in December 2018 after living for nearly 1 year in Syracuse NY. She fled Eritrea by herself 9 years ago due to war then lived in Egypt for more than 8 years. In Egypt, she learned English and worked for 5 years as a child care provider and dog-sitter. In Syracuse she received job training and learned general secretarial skills including receptionist and filing assistant. However, she developed some health problems which were made worse by the very cold weather and was relocated to Phoenix for the warmer weather. Although she does not have family here, she has friends from Egypt with whom she is living and appreciates their kind generosity very much as she regains her health. Once she is feeling stronger, she hopes to find work as a receptionist or in general secretarial work. She is very happy to be in America where she looks forward to opportunities for good health and employment and perhaps a job where she can utilize her proficiency in 4 languages.
We also will meet a wonderful family of 5 originally from DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) who are quick to express their joy of being in America! They fled the DRC in 2004 and lived in a refugee camp in Burundi for fourteen years then came to Phoenix in December directly from Burundi. During the years in the camp, the father was not allowed to work, but hopes for some training to help him have a good job in America. They are not yet fans of American food, but find Phoenix very clean and beautiful. Both Mom & Dad are very happy to have 2 children already in public school and are able to get very good health care for one son who has a disability. They have 2 adult children who also live nearby. The family speaks Swahili and very proficient conversational French as well.