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Family Bios: July 27, 2019

This week’s families all come from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).  The first family left the DRC in 1996 because of the fighting there.  They fled to a refugee camp in Tanzania and were there from 1996 until this year, when they arrived in Phoenix in May.  The father was in the camp from the time he was 14 years old.  The parents met and married in the camp, where all of their children were later born. The father worked in the camp in sanitation, keeping it clean so diseases didn’t spread.  The father’s parents are still in the camp, and he hopes to bring them here soon.  The mother’s father died in January, and her mom is still in the DRC.  The couple has 5 children, ages 13 (5thgrade), 8 (2ndgrade), 6 (1stgrade), 3½ and 1½.  The kids started school in May and miss seeing their friends every day so they can’t wait to start back soon!  The IRC is helping the dad get a job in a warehouse, which he will start next month, and their hope is for their children to pursue their educations. They want to meet many people and “not feel lonely.”

Our next family is two sisters and their families. The mom and her husband have two children, ages 3 ½ and 2, and her sister has two children, ages 3 and 1½. Her sister’s husband is still in the camp in Tanzania, where they fled in 1999 to escape the war. They also still have a brother in the DRC. They have been in Arizona for 2 months, after living in the camp for 20 years, since they were young children.  They say it is good in Arizona, and they hope to find jobs and live a better life.

Our third family has also been in Phoenix for two months, and despite the heat, they love it here!  The parents were in a refugee camp in Burundi for the past 14 years. They have a large family – the sons are ages 20, 15, 12, 10, 5, and 16 months and the daughters are 17 and 7 years old.  They are eager to learn English. The oldest son graduated high school and wants to continue his education, but he will probably start working first.  The father was an agriculture teacher, and his dream is to buy a house and provide stability for his family.  They are currently in two apartments with the large size of their family, as well as a 22-year-old aunt also living with them.

Family Bios: July 20, 2019

We will visit a single mother and her five children from Democratic Republic of Congo. The mother was is refugee camp for 20 years and all but the youngest child were born in camp.

We will also visit a mother with her three children, ages 18, 14 and 11 years old.  The family lived in Afghanistan originally, then in India for the past five years. They are very happy to be in the US and just arrived in June.  Both daughters are enrolling in school, while the son is starting a “cleaning” job at the airport. The family enjoys reading, and has plans to visit the nearby library.  The mother currently does not work but would like to start sewing again. They speak Farsi/Dari, however the son is able to communicate very well in English.  The family has lost both their father and brother. The father went missing for three years and his body was later left at their home.  The other brother was killed about six years ago in a suicide bombing. These were the harsh realities that they fled.   The mother expressed that now that she is in the U.S. her “mind is relaxed and is sleeping well now; there is now food for her family”.

And we will visit a mother with her two daughters, who are originally from Afghanistan, but were forced to flee to Turkey due to war.  The daughters are ages 10 and 11 and are sharing a bedroom. Both are enrolled in school and looking forward to using a computer.  The family speaks Farsi.  The father was killed in Afghanistan during the war. The mother and daughters spent three years in Turkey, during which time the mother worked as an office assistant.  The mother would now love a job utilizing her sewing skills.