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Family Bios: September 9, 2017

We’ll visit a family that includes a mother, age 44, and father, age 59. They have two sons, ages 20 and 8, and a daughter, age 6. In addition, there is a close family friend who lived with them in the refugee camp, and she has three sons, ages 16, 13, and 6 so there are a total of nine people living in this household. The family fled the Congo thirteen years ago because of the war in their country, and they settled in a refugee camp in Uganda. They were farmers in the Congo, and they continued that work in the refugee camp. The family came to the United States eight months ago and initially settled in California. They moved to Arizona three months ago because of the high cost of living in California and the difficulty they had in finding employment. The father is currently working as is the 20 year old son. The mother is looking for work, and her friend (who the family refers to as an aunt) is remaining home to take care of the children. The family is happy to be in the United States, and they are hopeful that their children will receive a good education here.

 

We’ll visit another family whose extended family consists of three generations. There are eleven people living in the household. The paternal grandmother, age 75, the father, age, 47, the mother, age 40, and eight children. There are five boys, ages 13, 11, 7, 4 and 2, and three girls, ages 9, 8, and 3 months. The youngest child was born premature. She is still on oxygen and has already had cardiac surgery but she appears to be doing well now. The family is Eritrean but the grandparents fled the war in Eritrea and settled in a refugee camp in Sudan where all of their children and grandchildren were born except for the youngest child, who was born in the US. The parents received religious education but did not go to a public school. The family was brought to Arizona in December 2016 by the IRC because of the war that was then going on in Sudan. The wife is a homemaker. The husband worked in a restaurant as a waiter in Sudan. He was employed for a month in a Phoenix warehouse before his mother became ill and was hospitalized. He quit his job to take care of her, and he is now looking for employment. The children now “love school” and they are teaching their mother English. She was going to language classes at IRC but had to leave after two weeks because she delivered her daughter prematurely. When asked about the dreams they have for the family, the mother focused on the importance of their children being educated and having the opportunity for a bright future.

And we’ll visit a family who consist of three generations, six people living in the household. The grandmother and grandfather, three daughters, ages 22, 21, and 11, and a granddaughter, age 6. The grandparents are from Somalia, and they fled their country 25 years ago because of the civil war. They lived in a refugee camp in Ethiopia where they met and married and had their three children. They worked as shopkeepers in the camp to sustain their family. They were brought here by the IRC eight months ago, and they “are still adjusting to life in the United States but do love it here.” The grandfather is working at a laundry and the grandmother is employed at Papa Johns, working in their kitchen. Her 22 year old daughter is working at the Pepsi warehouse and her 21 year old is still looking for employment. The dream for the family focuses on their children getting an education in America and making a happy life for themselves.