Our first family is from Iraq and has a mother, father and two daughters, 9 and 13 years old. The mother worked at a university in Baghdad until one day when she had to flee. On a day in July 2007, the dean of the university, his wife and child had left the college and began to walk down the street when all three were were murdered – shot down in the street. The mother of this family and two of her co- workers were of the same relgion as the dean and knew their lives were in danger. About 1:00 on that day they tried to leave the university, but as they were walking down the stairs a gunman appeared and began shooting. The mother was shot numberous times across her abdomen and fell to the ground. No one was able to come to her for about an hour, for fear of being gunned down, too. She was then rushed to a hospital and when she was able she fled to Turkey with her family. She lived there until May 14, 2009 when she arrived in Phoenix.
Our second family is from Bhutan and consists of a mother, father, son (7 years old), and daughter (3 years old).They lived in the refugee camps in Nepal for 18-19 years, hoping there would be a time when they could return to Bhutan. They arrived in Phoenix on May 1, 2009. They told us they were looking forward to our visit because others in their complex told them the Welcome to America Project “made their house beautiful”. The parents of the father arrived in Phoenix three days ago and live in a nearby apartment. The mother speaks fluent English.
Our third family is also from Bhutan. There is a mother and father and two sons, 5 and 1 years old. The father was about 7 years old when his family was forced to leave Bhutan. He describes it as a bitter experience. He spoke about all the new things he has had to learn after coming to the U.S., like how to use an elevator. The parents speak fluent English.