The first family we will visit consists of a father, mother and their three children. The two older girls, ages ten and seven are enrolled in school and learning English. The younger daughter is five and will begin school next year. The mother understands a little English and is working in a hotel. The father uses a wheel chair and requested a handle or support bar so that he can get out of bed without assistance. He is the caregiver for the children when mom is working. The family is originally from Burma where they worked as hillside cultivators and moved from place to place yearly. Because of the difficulties with the Burmese government, the father decided to go to Malaysia. Two years later the mother and children joined him and the family remained in Malaysia for 3 years. They have been in America for a little more than three months and are slowly adjusting. Their extended family remains in Burma and they have had no contact with them so far.
The second family we will visit consists of a young couple and their one and two year old children. In Burma the husband was a bean farmer and the wife worked at home caring for family members. They lived in a small village and decided to leave due to difficulties caused by politics. They were in Thailand a short time and in Malaysia for three years, where they obtained refugee status and the ability to transfer to Phoenix. They have been here for a little over three months and seem to be adjusting well. The husband is taking English classes. The wife cares for the young, active and adorable children. Their plan is to learn English, then the husband will find a job and study, and they would like to assimilate to this country. It is very different than the small village they came from.
The last family consists of a father, mother and nine year old daughter from Iran. They were persecuted because of their religion and were prohibited from working and going to school. They felt like prisoners in their home so decided to go to Turkey, where they stayed for 11 months until they were granted refugee status in the United States. They have lived here for two months and have many dreams for their family. The father wants to learn English and begin working. The mother plans to learn English and stay home and take care of the daughter who has cerebral Palsy. They are pleased with the medical care they have received for their daughter and the father who suffers from a seizure disorder. They are also pleased that the daughter is able to attend school although she is unable to walk and speak. Even though her brain has serious damage, they have hope that she will progress, heal and learn to speak. They also dream of having a good job to buy a car to drive and a house to live in. The wife has a sister that lives near them, and they hope to have their extended family near soon!