Our first visit was with an Eritrean family who have been here since September of last year. In this family is a mother (43), daughter (22), son (14) and grandson (2). When the daughter was 18-year-old, the family fled to Ethiopia because the daughter did not want to join the military. They felt safe in the refugee camp, but often didn’t have enough food for the family. The houses in the camp were made of mud walls, and a grass roof. On their trip to the U.S., they were very happy and enjoyed their first plane ride.
Our next family is originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.In this family is a father (35), mother (28), and 4 sons (12,10,8,2). We learned that in this country, the father’s first name would be his children’s last name. In 1999 the father, mother and first child fled the Congo because of the war there and they were threatened and was told this was not their land. They first went to Burundi, but were not accepted there. They went on through Tanzania to Mozambique, and stayed there for the next 11 years. Prior to fleeing his country, the father had been a primary school teacher and a pastor.
The third family we saw are from Iraq. There are 7 people in this family. There is a father and mother, 3 daughters (16,14,9) an 2 sons (18 and 4). While living in Iraq, the father was a food and beverage manager in a 5 star resort. He has studied in France and Tunisia. On occasion, he would do work for the U.S. companies in Iraq. He began to get threats and then was kidnapped. His family fled to Syria and then Lebanon, while he remained kidnapped for more than 1 year. The youngest child has numerous health problems. Before the husband’s release, the rest of his family is flown to Phoenix. After his release, the father is surprised to learn from his wife’s family, that his family is in the U.S. They are happy to be safe and together.