This Week’s Families

Family Bios: August 19, 2017

We’ll meet a 28 year old from Congo. He left with his family because of the war and accompanying violence. They fled to Rwanda in 1996 and stayed in the refugee camp until 2015, when they were accepted to come to the United States. They settled in Illinois, where his family continues to live. He decided to come to Arizona with a friend in March 2017. He lives in a studio apartment and bought himself an air mattress to sleep on. He figured out public transportation and quickly found a job. He loves soccer.  He misses his family. He is appreciative for the help from WTAP.

 

We’ll meet a family from Afghanistan. The father (37) came to the U.S. in 2006 for special training to work with the U.S. army. As he continued his work in Afghanistan, he and his family began receiving threats on their lives. Life was too dangerous to reamin. This year, he relocated to Arizona with his wife (31) and their six children, ages 3 to 12. With exception of the youngest, the children have started school and are enjoying it. (The youngest is sad to see them go off to school and wants to go with them each morning.) The parents are grateful that the children will be able to get a good education. Dad is looking for a job. The thing they miss the most from their country are the family members that remain in Afghanistan.

And we will meet a family from Iraq. The mother (42) lost her husband and fled with her two children to Turkey, where they lived for two years. The family arrived to Arizona in August of 2016. Her son is 18, going to school and working part time. Her daughter is 15 and attending school. She also has a son in Turkey and three in Germany. Mom is scheduled for surgery the end of August.

Family Bios: August 12, 2017

The first family we will visit is originally from Somalia, although none of the children have ever seen their country. The mother left Somalia when she was 17 and lived for 20 years in a refugee camp in Kenya. She met and married her husband there, had all her children, and lost her husband before the family was granted asylum here in the USA.  This family of 9 (mother and children ranging from ages 7 to 23) arrived in Phoenix with a brother-in-law in October 2015. The older daughter,  married with a baby (the first American in their family), has since moved out with her husband. The mother moved to Seattle with the other 8 children a little while ago. Seattle proved to be too expensive and it was hard for the mother to find a job, so they have come back to Phoenix.  They are starting over again in a small 2-bedroom apartment, but they are optimistic and hopeful. The mother says Phoenix is good – good food, good health care, good schools. She is looking for a job and the younger children will soon start back to school. This happy family is grateful for the help of WTAP, grateful for the newest addition to their family, and excited about the future.

 

We’ll also meet a family of four from Cuba, who are very recent arrivals to the United States.  They include two adults and a pair of teenage boys.

 

 

 

And we’ll visit a family from the Democratic Republic of Congo.  The father is one of 12 children, 11 of whom survived.  In 1996, during the war, they fled to the Refugee camp in Tanzania, where the family stayed 22 years.  The father and his family attended school through high school.  The grandparents died in camp, one from malaria and one from heart problems.  The father and mother met in camp and had all three children there. The family includes two boys ages,  11 and 8, and a daughter age 4.  The three children will be in school this coming year. The father has five brothers living in New York.

Family Bios: Agust 5 and August 7, 2017

On Saturday, we’ll visit a family from Afghanistan. The family had to flee their home after being threatened because of the father’s association with US Armed Forces. He worked in construction for 7 years helping our soldiers on the ground in his home country.  The father and mother were married in Afghanistan and have three children (ages 5, 4 and 1). Most of their family is still back in Afghanistan, but the father does have a cousin in Glendale and a sister in California.  The family came directly to the USA from Afghanistan and has only been here a month, but they are enjoying their time. The father already has a job. The mother has been working on her English. The older daughter will be starting kindergarten soon. They are very happy to be here and to be safe, and expressed great appreciation for the welcome and the help from the Welcome to America Project.

 

We will visit another family from Afghanistan. This young woman (23) is the responsible adult for her 2 siblings (ages 13 and 12).  The family is originally from Afghanistan, but fled with their parents to Pakistan. They lived there for several years before being granted asylum. The children were granted asylum, but their parents did not come. They do not know where their parents are now.  The older sister is working on her English skills and hopes to get a job soon. The younger siblings will be starting school next month. They were particularly keen on getting a desk to do their homework.  The family is doing well, especially considering their unique situation. A mentor is helping them getting adjusted to their new life and they have some friends here in the Valley.

 

We’ll visit a third family from Afghanistan. They arrived here on a Special Immigration Visa.   The husband assisted the US government in Afghanistan and his family was threatened because of this work. His unit officers were originally from Arizona and that is why this family has been resettled here.  In Afghanistan, the husband worked in information technologies, assisting US Agencies in distribution of foreign aid.  The wife is a nurse. She worked visiting rural areas in Afghanistan to provide health care and medical training. The couple got their college educations in Pakistan, where they learned English. They met upon their return to Afghanistan, where they got married and had two children, now ages 3 and 5. They are expecting a baby in August.  This family arrived in Phoenix in April. The children did not start school, but are looking forward to going in August. The father is looking for a job and the mother is getting ready to add the newest member of their family. They said they are happy to be here together, even though all their family remains in Afghanistan.

 

 

On Monday, we will meet a family from the Democratic Republic of Congo.  The father and his parents were farmers.  His parents were killed while he was working on the farm.  He left after this happened in 1994 and headed to the Refugee Camp in Tanzania.  He met his wife in the camp and they had their three children there.  They have two boys ages 10 and two and a daughter that is eight.  They left the camp and arrived in Arizona in April of 2016. The father has one sister that remained in Tanzania. The father is presently working and the two older children are attending school and enjoy it.  The children speak some English.

 

 

 

The last family we’ll meet, also from Democratic Republic of Congo, is a family of seven.  The children are three boys ages 15, 14 and two and two girls ages 11 and eight.  The father left the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1997 for Uganda and stayed in a refugee camp for 19 years.  He met his wife there and all the children were born there.  They arrived in Arizona October of 2016.  The school aged kids are in school and speak English.  Mom is expecting another child in August. The father has a brother is Kansas and one in refugee camp.

Family Bios: July 29 and 30, 2017

We will visit Kurdish family from Iraq. The mom and the dad have a 3 year old and a baby due in November. The family arrived in April.  In Iraq, the father was an electrician while the mom stayed home with the children. This family began receiving threats back in 2012 after some of the extended family members assisted the US Armed Forces.  After moving around their country for years in search of safety, there were resettled here in Phoenix.  The family is happy to be joining many, many other family members already here in the USA. The father’s brother, sister and father live in the same apartment complex, and they have family in Washington, California, Texas and Missouri. Some of their family has been here since 1996.

 

The next family we will visit is related to the first. The father and his adult daughter live in the same apartment complex as 2 other family members, both of which also have been served by The Welcome to America Project.  While the father is happy to be here and safe with his children and grandchildren, he spoke of missing his own brother and sister who are still in Iraq. As a Kurd, he said he felt like a stranger when he first arrived, but is feeling more at home now. He expressed deep gratitude to all the people who have helped him get settled in this new place.

 

We’ll also visit a young man from the Democratic Republic of Congo and his mother. The young man fled the DRC in 2013 with his mom. They were following his sister, but the family was separated and only reconnected when the young man was in the refugee camp in South Congo and found out his sister had been resettled in Phoenix. She later moved to Chicago.  The young man and his mother were eventually resettled in Chicago, but decided to come to Phoenix where jobs are more plentiful and the rents are more affordable. The young man arrived here in February. He waited until he had a job to send for his mom, who arrived in July.  The young man is employed at Papa Johns and he really likes his job.  He was able to teach himself English while in the refugee camp, and is excited to start his new life here working and taking care of his mother.

 

We will visit a family from Cuba.  The father (63), daughter (41) and grandson (21) live together. The father arrived to he US earlier and had lived in Montana until a few months ago when his daughter and grandson arrived.  In Cuba, the father worked high in the mountains doing woodworking and carpentry. His grandson was a carpenter too. Now they are both working in demolition. The daughter did a variety of jobs in Cuba. She just landed a job and is lucky to be able to carpool with a friend in her complex.  Even tough they have relatives scattered all over the USA and many still back in Cuba, this family is happy to be together in Phoenix, to be working and to feel settled.

 

We’ll visit a second family from Cuba.  The mother (60) lives with her daughter (28) and granddaughter (10). They have been in Phoenix for 7 months.  In Cuba, the mother was a lab technician in a hospital and her daughter was a shopkeeper. The mother recalled Cuba as a very beautiful place but a place where life is very hard. The family is happy to be here and is starting to feel settled after the difficulties of relocation.  The mother had nothing but the nicest things to say about the American welcome she has received. She mentioned being so impressed by the concern and goodness of the American people. She is very grateful to The Welcome to America Project.

 

We will visit a third family from Cuba, consisting of a wife, husband and their young son.

Family Bios: July 22, 2017

We will visit a family of nine, originally from Democratic Republic of Congo, who spent 20 years in a refugee camp  All of their children were born in camp.  The mother and father fled the Congo due to danger from the various wars.  The father worked in construction and continued this work in camp in Tanzania.  The mother stayed at home with the children.  There are four daughters, ranging in age from 9 to 17, and three sons, ranging in age from 1 to 20.  The children speak English very well.   The family arrived to the US in 2016.  They talk about how much they like school especially math, science, soccer and basketball.  The father has found work as a kitchen worker at a local restaurant.  They are happy to be safe in America and appreciate the help they are getting.

 

We will visit a family from Mosul, Iraq who made their way to the United States via a very harrowing journey.  The family left Iraq in 2014 and fled to Turkey where they stayed for 2 years.  Turkey proved unsafe and the mother and her two sons, age 4 and 9, left Turkey on a very treacherous journey by sea to Greece.   They described having to constantly bail water from the boat, using shoes and anything they had so the boat didn’t sink.  They talked of the drivers on the boat having guns and not feeling safe onboard.  They remained in Greece until they could get passage to the US.  The arrived to our country in October 2016.  Unfortunately the father was not able to leave Turkey so the mother and children have traveled alone.  They hope their father will be able to join them in the US.  The mother is under medical care and is learning to speak English.  The nine year old speaks very good English and will be in 5th grade this year.

And we will visit a family from Syria.  The family includes a couple and their three teen age children (2 girls and 1 boy).  They arrived to the US in August 2016.

Family Bios July 13, 2017

We will visit is a family from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The wife fled war in the DRC in 1999, when she was just a girl. She met her husband in a refugee camp in Uganda. They were married in camp and had 4 children. They adopted a 5th child when the parents of this infant died in camp. The mom was nursing her own newborn, and took in the infant who is now their daughter too. The family arrived in the USA in November 2016 and one month lafter arrival, a new baby was born.  Both husband and wife are working, and the older children are in school. In fact, the children say their favorite thing about America is school.  The wife’s mother is in Ohio. She has not yet seen her, but is in regular contact. They are happy to be here all together and were very thankful for our visit.

We’ll visit a second family, also from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The wife and her family fled civil war when she was only 4 years old. She spent 18 years in a refugee camp in Uganda waiting for asylum.  She met her husband in the refugee camp where they were married and had 4 children. They are pregnant and the baby is due in October.  The family arrived in Phoenix in September 2016. The father is working and the older children are in school. These children also say their favorite part of America is going to school.  The family is fortunate to have some relatives in Phoenix, although other family members are still in DRC and Uganda. They are grateful to be here and excited for their new baby to arrive.

And we will visit a third family from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The husband sent his wife and his first born away when the war broke out in 1996. He followed them 6 months later, and they were in a refugee camp in Tanzania from then until they arrived in Phoenix in October 2016. Seven more children were born over that period of time. Sadly, only 4 survived.  In DRC, the husband had some farmland and was a French teacher. He was also able to teach in the school in the refugee camp in Tanzania where his children attended school. He has been doing janitorial work since he arrived in Phoenix. His wife is doing housekeeping work, and his oldest works at at a pizza restaurant.  The family is very grateful to be here, even though they have already had some hardships. Only 2 days after arriving in Phoenix, the husband’s mother, who had made the arduous journey and survived year in refugee camp, passed away. All the family who was not able to flee the DRC has been killed. The father does have a brother here in the States whom he hopes to see on day. This family was very grateful for the WTAP volunteers, and offered a blessing for all of us on our journey and for the work we do.

Family Bios: July 8, 2017

We’ll visit a family from Afghanistan. They arrived here on a Special Immigration Visa.   The husband assisted the US government in Afghanistan and his family was threatened because of this work. His unit officers were originally from Arizona and that is why this family has been resettled here.  In Afghanistan, the husband worked in information technologies, assisting US Agencies in distribution of foreign aid.  The wife is a nurse. She worked visiting rural areas in Afghanistan to provide health care and medical training. The couple got their college educations in Pakistan, where they learned English. They met upon their return to Afghanistan, where they got married and had two children, now ages 3 and 5. They are expecting a baby in August.  This family arrived in Phoenix in April. The children did not start school, but are looking forward to going in August. The father is looking for a job and the mother is getting ready to add the newest member of their family. They said they are happy to be here together, even though all their family remains in Afghanistan.

 

We’ll also visit a family from Burma. The family includes a husband, wife, her sister (15) and their 2 children (ages 4 an 1). They arrived in Phoenix at the end of May. When we visited them, they had WTAP met them, they had been here just one week.  The husband fled Burma in 2008 and went to Malaysia. The wife left Burma in 2010 and met her husband shortly after she too arrived in Malaysia. In 2013, the her sister joined them in Malaysia.  The family fled Burma because they were constantly under military rule with no freedom. None of the adults was allowed to attend school. The father and mother were farmers. They tried to work in Malaysia, but there undocumented status meant that they were always underpaid for their work and had no legal recourse for demanding justice. They wanted a life of freedom for their sons.  The 15-year old sister was able to attend school in Malaysia, and she learned to speak English. She is so excited to start school in the Fall. She enjoys music and drawing, and is very happy to be in America.

And we will visit a mother and her three daughters from Somalia.  They arrived in late 2016.  The daughters are all enrolled in Phoenix schools and the mother works to support the family.

Family Bios: June 24, 2017

 

This family came to the US from came from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, having arrived in Aug of 2014.  The family includes a women and her 3 daughters and 1 son, ages 4 to 16 years old  with newborn on the way.   The mother and her oldest daughter left the Congo in 2008 and fled to a refugee camp in Uganda where she and her daughter lived until coming to America.  The other children were born in the camp. The family had been doing well with kids in school, learning English and the mother and working to support her family when their home burned and they lost all their belongings.  They are working hard to recover from this setback event.  The mother is not able to work at this time due to her pregnancy but is taking the time to take more English classes so that when the baby is born, she will be able to return to the work force. 

 

This family is from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and arrived in the US in July 2016.  The family includes  a husband, is wife and their 4 daughters ranging in age from 1 to7 years old.  They are expecting another child in October.  Their journey to America began with being affected by the war in the Congo and needing to flee their village for safety in 1996.  The husband and wife were very young at the time, around 10-12 years of age when they fled with their families.  They met in the refugee camp in Tanzania and all their children were born in the camp.  The father is working as a cleaner for a large company while the mother stays home and takes care of the family.  They are happy to be in the US and feel very safe and blessed to have this opportunity.

 

This family is from Syria and arrived in the United States in July 2016.  They are a husband a wife and  a 6 sons ranging in age from 6 to 14 years of age.  They fled Syria in 2010 by car to a refugee camp in Jordan due to the war being all around them and fearing for their lives and safety.  The husband worked in construction in Syria while the wife stayed at home with the children.  The husband has been able to find work here at a car wash and is very grateful for this job.  The mother works as a housecleaner now.  The children are very happy in school and have made lots of friends along with learning to speak English.  They are very glad they can feel safe again.

Family Bios: June 17, 2017

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.   

Family Bios: June 10, 2017

 

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.