This Week’s Families

Family Bios: February 16, 2019

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.

Family Bios: February 2, 2019

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.

Family Bios: January 26, 2019

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.

Family Bios: January 19, 2019

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.

Family Bios: January 12, 2019

We will meet a family from Syria who have been here for about two years. They fled Syria during the Civil War and spent more than three years in refugee camp in Jordan.  They have five children, ranging in age from elementary school to age 20. The father was a repairman in Syria. He currently works at the Phoenix airport. The family is most focused on their children’s education so that they can become successful here in America.

 

We’ll also meet a young couple from Pakistan and their two young boys

 

 

 

We will meet a young mom from the Democratic Republic of Congo and her 2 year old son. She is resettleing to Phoenix moving into her very first apartment

 

And we will young, soon-to-be mom from Guatemala, also moving into her first apartment.

 

 

We will learn more about our wonderful new neighbors when we visit this Saturday.

Family Bios: December 22, 2018

The family we will meet today is originally from Myanmar.  They fled to Malaysia to avoid persecution.  While in Malaysia, the father worked as an electrician.  The couple’s two children were born there.  After arriving in the United States in October, they lived with friends for a couple of months.  They are now living in their own apartment and the father is working in an aluminum factory.  They are very happy to be here, are anxious to learn English, and see their young daughters start school when they are old enough.

 

We will welcome a family of nine from the Congo region of Africa.  The mother was taken to Tanzania by her parents as a child.  She met her husband in Tanzania and had all their children in the refugee camp there.  The children range from two years old to a son who is in his 20’s. The family has been in Arizona for two years and one month.  The mother was working when they arrived, then had a terrible accident and injured her leg badly so she is not working. The oldest son is working to support the entire family.  The two- year old stays home with mom and the five middle children attend school.  The family says they are grateful to be here and that it is better than Tanzania, yet life has been challenging for them here.

Family Bios: December 8, 2018

We will meet a family from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) who fled as a young couple with a baby. They ran from the war and violence that was, and still is, engulfing their homeland. They left the land that they farmed and headed to Uganda, where they spent the next 20 years waiting for a new home. The family – which grew to include 7 more children (ages 18, 16, 11, 9, 7, 5,1) was originally settled in California along with the paternal grandmother. The oldest daughter (now 20) was resettled in Kentucky with her husband. After a year in California, the family moved to Arizona and has only been in Phoenix a few months. The father and mother are both working and all the children are in school and doing well. This family is very thankful to be in the USA, although their journey ahs been hard and they are struggling with some issues. Their current 2-bedroom apartment is too small for their needs, but they are making the best of it for now. A warm welcome from neighbors will be great gift.

We will also meet another family from DRC. Like the first family, mom and dad were farmers back in the DRC. The unending violence and lack of safety drove this young couple and their baby from their homeland. They made their way to Tanzania where they waited for 26 years. In that time, they had 5 more children (now ages 24, 19, 16 and twins of 13).

The oldest son of this family- the one who originally fled with his parents from DRC- remains in Tanzania. He is married with children of his own, awaiting the processing of his paperwork. The family is hopeful they will soon we reunited. All the other family members live in the same apartment complex they moved into in August.

After just a few months, in the USA, mom and dad are working, the younger children are in school and the older daughter is looking for work. They have created a lovely home and really do consider Phoenix their new home. They are happy to be getting a visit form WTAP volunteers soon.