Our first family is a family of 6 from Iraq. Dad is 40 and was an electrical mechanic back in Iraq. Mom is 41 with some health issues. They have three daughters 17, 14 and 6. They also have one son who is 11. The family arrived in Michigan and thought it was too cold there since mother has health issues, so relocated to Arizona on December 5th to be near existing family. During the visit the 3 youngest children were attending their first day of school. The parents asked for some toys for the children, and said the youngest daughter really misses her dolls that were left behind. The oldest daughter is going to take her college entry exam. When asked, this family chose not to share their story.
The second family is from Cuba and consists of a mother who is 40 and three children. The mother is friendly and welcoming. The oldest child is a son who is 16, he loves to play ball (soccer, baseball, any kind). The two daughters are 9 and 15 and like to read and stay home with mom. This family had a modest life in Cuba. The mother did not work outside the home. They came to Arizona on December 8th to be with the mother’s father and uncle who have lived here for over 10 years.
The last family is a mother and son from Iraq. The son is 19 and while working for the U.S. army in Iraq was kidnapped. The mother was threatened and their house was taken. As soon as they were reunited, they fled to Syria where they stayed for 4 years. They arrived in Arizona December 6th and are both very happy to be here. It has been the son’s dream to come to the United States, his eyes sparkle when he talks about his hopes of being a firefighter, police officer or joining the army. He also wants to go to college. The son speaks English very well and likes to work out and box. The mother has some health issues (high blood pressure, cholesterol, back and neck problems). She had a career in Iraq that few women occupy and lost many friends she worked with. She likes music, singing, sports, movies and reading (she needs eye surgery to be able to read well again). They shared their story openly with much sadness. They have had many losses and hope to one day be reunited with the Step-father and grandmother who are still in Syria and seem to be safe.