We will visit a senior community of Burundian refugees who have been in Phoenix for more than ten years. Many relatives were killed during civil war and other relatives reman in Africa. WTAP visits this wonderful group as part of our partnership with BAAHO, a Burundian goodwill group.
This weekend we will welcome a Syrian family who arrived in Arizona in September 2016 after fleeing Damascus when the war started several years ago. They moved from the capital and stayed in various Syrian towns for 8 months before fleeing to Lebanon where they lived four years in a camp before coming to the United States. The wife says that it was “very hard” living in the camp, and the family “suffered” under these circumstances. The husband is 40 years old and is currently working at the car rental facilities at the airport. His wife, who is 37 years old, had just given birth to a son 10 days prior to the home visit. The family has seven girls, ages 4, 7, 8, 11, 12, 15 and 16 years old. All are in school except the youngest, and they are doing well. The family is “very happy” to be here, and the children are excited to have the opportunity to attend school. One wants to be a doctor while another hopes to become a teacher. Both parents are trying to improve their English skills, and their children are helping them learn the language.
We will also welcome a family from Iraq who arrived in Arizona in November 2017, fleeing the persecution that they experienced because husband had worked for three years as a translator for the American military. During that time period, his father had borrowed his car and was killed by a car bomb which was intended for him. After he left the US military employment, he joined the Iraqi army. He has a degree in English from an Iraqi university and is currently working in the security field at the airport. The wife, age 32, is a housewife and is working on improving her English which is very limited. The parents have three sons, ages 12, 10, and 9 and a daughter, age 1. The family is doing very well and the children are enjoying their school experience here. The father would like to pursue a degree in Homeland Security but he also discusses the opportunity to work as a translator in the government. The parents’ goals for their children are to be educated and to provide them with good opportunities for their future so they will have a “good life.”
We will visit two young people moving into their first apartments. Both arrived to the US after escaping dire circumstances in their home countries, forcing them to flee as teenagers. They were raised in foster families and are now ready to live on their own.
One is a 19 year old young woman from Eritrea, who arrived to the US a few years ago. The other is a 18 young man from Guatemala who will be living with roommate. We will learn more about their stories when we welcome them on Saturday.
We will visit a family of five from Democratic Republic of Congo. The single mother fled her home at age 11 and spent 21 years in refugee camp. Her four children were born a refugee camp. She’s lucky to now be living in Phoenix near her sister who has been here for almost 5 years. Their mother also lives here. The mom has already secured work in the food industry. She’s very happy to be safe and in Phoenix where her children can attend school. Her children are 11, 9 and 3 (twins).
We also visit a family from Eritrea who arrived in the US in October 2018. The family includes a husband, wife and their children ages 8, 10 & 14. The entire family is fast learning English. After leaving Eritrea they were in a refugee camp in northern Ethiopia, where they stayed for about 3 years. The husband is looking for work, and the wife would like to also find work. She was very appreciative of WTAP and extremely happy about being in the US.
And we will meet a single dad from Burundi, raising two boys, ages 5 and 7. The dad fled Burundi in 1996 due to ethnic persecution. He went to Kenya and was there for 22 years until arriving in the US in November 2018. He met the mother of his children in 2009 in Kenya. She was also a refugee from Burundi. The mother left the kids and father in 2014 to move back to Burundi. The father used to be a medical assistant in Kenya. He would like to get a job in the medical field here in the US. He spoke English and French, and seemed very happy to be in the US.