The first family we will visit is a family of six from Cuba. The mother (34) and father (37) have four children. They have three sons (ages 20, 17 and 9) and a daughter (age 4). While there is some indication that outright repression on the island has lessened slightly, Cubans are still subject to a variety of restrictions on freedom of expression, private enterprise, and freedom of movement. The father was incarcerated for a year and half and the children experienced mistreatment. The family left Cuba and gained political asylum with the assistance of the U.S. government. The family arrived in Phoenix January 29th 2015. Their first apartment was infested with bed bugs which caused them to move, yet they are very pleased to be in Phoenix. The father worked as a licensed fisherman and operated a home business as a barber. The children are not currently attending school while they wait to complete medical requirements. The children want to learn to speak English and to further their educational goals. The father and older son are willing to work in any position. The wife has family who have been leaving in Phoenix for a year.
Another visit will be to a brother and sister who are from Burma. The young man is twenty-four years old and his sister is seventeen years old. Burma is a country that has been plagued by civil war for the past fifty years. Many families have been destroyed and left without parents due to massive genocide. These young people have lost both their father and their mother. The brother fled to Malaysia due to the civil war. After a year he was able to bring his sister to be with him. In the past he worked as a bus driver and as an assistant for the group which took him to be a soldier. In Malaysia he worked in an auto repair shop. The brother and sister arrived in Phoenix December 17th 2014. The sister has completed her education through seventh grade so she is enrolled in school as an eighth grader. She takes a bus to school and is in class from 8am to 2pm daily. She is learning to speak English in school. The brother is looking for work and will accept any work he is offered. One of the brother’s goals is to be reunited with his wife who is pregnant and is still in Malaysia.
A final visit will be to a family of nine from Somalia. The husband is forty-six years old and the wife is thirty-six years old. They have seven children. Their daughters are sixteen, eleven, eight and five. Their sixteen year old daughter has an intellectual disability. Their three sons are thirteen, twelve and two years old. Following the collapse of the central government in 1991, the constitution in Somalia was ignored. Various clan-based political coalitions and alliances control the country. The family fled Somalia in 1999 to a refugee camp in Botswana where they have lived for the past fifteen years. All the children except one were born in the refugee camp. The family arrived in Phoenix November 25th 2014. The husband is currently employed working in the warehouse of a local department store. . The children attend public school and are learning to speak English. They like their schools and want to continue to work toward their educational goals.