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July 9, 2011

Eritrean FlagOur first family we visited on June 28th consisted of two members. A young mother and her toddler son live in this ground floor, street adjacent apartment. The apartment is worn and small in nature, but Mother is happy to be in Phoenix and gets a sensation of safety from Arizona. Originally from Eritrea their first point of residence was Glendale. After escaping the war torn environment of Eritrea to Ethiopia, they were placed in a refugee camp. In camps you were not allowed to hold work, or leave the camp. Here, in the Unites States, Mother has found work for a local hotel doing housekeeping. Son, who was born in the US, was in day care the day we visited. Mother has no family in Phoenix but has a handful of intimate friends. Their journey to the United States consisted of their first plane trip which made her feel both excited and afraid. The apartment is small and sparse in nature, and could use some attention from management.

Eritrean FlagOur second visit on June 28th, consisted of a young mother and her 3 year old daughter. The mother has a boyfriend who resides with her and he is a little older and appears to have children as well. The mother and boyfriend are expecting a child in August. The family’s apartment on the second floor is sort of a meeting place for neighborhood kids and other family members. The modest elongated apartment was filled with smiling young faces and kids traveling back and forth from other apartments back into our client’s residence. Kids were watching cartoons with closed caption feature enable to allow English to be read on bottom to follow along with cartoon characters. Mother is a very shy woman but gentle in spirit, more than likely due to her very young age. Young toddler/ daughter on the other hand, is beaming with smiles and friendly. This very clean apartment, but modest with furniture, uses curtains to separate rooms. Family is from Eritrea and Mother spent 7 years in a refugee camp in Ethiopia. She too did not like its very restrictive nature. Boyfriend was a sheep herder in Eritrea and lacks any formal education. Couple met here in the United States.

Iraqi FlagThe last family we visited on June 28th is originally from Iraq. The family consisted of husband and wife, small school age daughter, and very young baby girl. Family very hospitable and offered all volunteers Middle Eastern treats to start the visit. Young daughter was very outgoing and often led our translation and answered our questions. Husband was former translator for US Marines and was targeted as a result of his work with the Marines. Father’s understanding of English is remarkable and he has firm grasp on how to use system here in the United States: such as job searches. Family initially fled to Syria where turmoil ensued. Family was placed originally in Iowa where finding work was difficult although all family had mixed reaction to weather with some enjoying it AND others preferring Phoenix. Family’s well maintained apartment on the second floor is void of any furniture and lacks beds. Daughter spent a year in public school in Iowa and her English is coming along quite well. Father originally was a welder in Iraq prior to being hired by US Marines. He was hired after looking for welding work at base, and colonel who was having trouble with translation saw him voluntarily translate for him. He was nearly hired on the spot. Husbands experience with the Marines was very positive and he actually has letters of recommendations from several military personnel. Family would like to bring parents from Bagdad. Wife would like to study English at local CC but must wait a year to get resident’s rates. Husband would like to work in welding and daughter is eager to start school in August. Several times family let us hold the baby girl, and remarkably, the baby was very happy with this. School age daughter was so charming and having such a good time that she offered to leave with us when we left.

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