We’ll visit a family from Cuba, a couple with two children (23-year-old daughter who is still in Cuba attending her last year of medical school, and a 15-year-old son who just arrived from Cuba in the past week after being separated from his parents since 2013). The husband was trained in epidemiology in Cuba, and worked in this field traveling to Africa and South America. The wife worked with plants in a nursery. They left Cuba because they just couldn’t progress living in a Communist-controlled country. They fled to Brazil in 2013 where they worked for 3 years, then came to the US via Houston where they lived for 4 months, then came to Phoenix in 2016. The husband was hired full-time to work in a factory and their son has begun school.
We will meet two 30 year old Cuban men, both dentists, now living as roommates. One man was working in Valenzuela and then went to Columbia. He flew from Columbia to the United States (Miami) then came to AZ. His wife and daughter are still in Cuba with hopes of coming to the US. He is currently working in a bakery. The other man was working in Columbia and also flew to Miami and then came to AZ. His wife and son are still in Cuba and hope to come here when they can. He is working for a construction company as a painter. Both men would like to return to the medical field once their families are settled in our country. When not working, they enjoy baseball and soccer.
We’ll visit a family from Afghanistan that includes a husband, his expectant wife and their young son. Both parents are highly educated and speak fluent English. The husband worked in administration with the US government and, as a result, was targeted by insurgents. He and his family fled their home and were eventually taken in by our government to come to our country. The husband is already working now for a US company. They still have relatives in Afghanistan about whom they worry for safety.
We’ll visit two young men from Eritrea who arrived here as “unaccompanied minors”. Now 19, they will have their very first apartments. They both work and attend school.
This family consists of a husband, age 32, his 24 year old wife, their three year old son and their new addition, a young son born in May of this year. The family arrived here from Afghanistan in March 2017. The husband worked in administration for three years in the US embassy. The family had to move several times because of threats issues until they decided it was best to seek safety in the US. The husband has a degree in Economics from an Indian University, and his wife also attended school. The husband is one of 10 children, and he has 9 siblings who, for reasons of displacement, are scattered throughout the world. His father is deceased and his mother, age 85, lives with his brother who is a shopkeeper Kabul. They have some family in the Phoenix area who left Afghanistan under similar circumstances. Now safe, the couple’s focus is on education for themselves and their children. The husband would like to pursue a MBA degree. His wife wants to finish a college education when her children are older. The wife’s current goal is improving her English, and the husband’s focus is on finding employment so he can support his family.
We’ll visit a second family from Afghanistan, a young couple who arrived here in mid February of this year. They are happy to have found safety in the US.
We will also visit two young Cuban women who recently arrived in April of this year. One woman came by way of Columbia and the other through Brazil. Both are experienced medical doctors who are eager to get started studying for their US medical board certifications. Medical professionals in Cuba are often sent to other countries in exchange for resources (minerals, oil, etc.). They have very little choice in this matter and can be separated from their families. The two doctors are happy and relieved to be here. And they appreciate opportunities and freedoms our country offers.
On Sunday, we will visit three large families from the African continent, all of whom fled the dangers of war and oppression in their countries. Two families are from the Congo region and the third family is from Eritrea. They arrived in the US late last year. Things we take for granted – food, employment, safety, peace – were non existent in their countries and every day was dangerous. Each family has spent many years in refugee camp and many of their children were born in camp. Now in Phoenix, the families have found peace and opportunities to work and learn. The parents are working and children are enrolled in Phoenix area schools, a far cry from their refugee existence.
We will visit a refugee family from Syria. The father (47), mother (44), daughters (21,13, and 5 months), and sons (17, 9) all arrived January 2017. They youngest child was born in Turkey. The family moved often to escape from the war and the rockets outside of their homes. The family started in Marea, northern Aleppo, then travelled to Halab, the capital of Aleppo, then to Rakka, and then settled in a refugee camp for four years in Turkey. While in Syria, the father worked to lay tile and the mother was a tailor for women. Here in Arizona the father will start working as a carpenter and the mother wishes to continue as a tailor/seamstress. The entire family is looking forward to the safety of living in the United States and Arizona. They are also happy to be here to continue to educate their children.
We will visit another family from Syria. The father (52), mother (39), sons (19, 12, 6), and daughters (24, 22, 21) all arrived April 2017. This family moved from Syria to Northern Iraq for 18 months prior to their arrival in Arizona. The family needed to flee Syria for the health and the safety of their family. They were no longer able to receive medical care for two of their children. The children have blood disorders and need weekly medical treatment. The family is very happy to be here in Arizona where they are able to obtain the much needed care for their family. While in Syria, the father a prominent position in Ministry of Education. The mother was a homemaker taking care of the family. All of the children have been studying in school; college, high school, and now in elementary school. The family is looking forward to continuing their children’s studies in the United States.
We’ll visit a third refugee family from Syria, who also fled the dangers of civil war The family includes a father (42), mother (34) and their children, ages 8, 7, 2 and 10 months. Like the other Syrian families, they are happy to now live in peace and safety.