The first family we visited was a family of 5 – mother, 2 daughters, and 2 sons (all 4 children are in their twenties). The mother and daughters greeted us and warmly welcomed us in to their home. They had been in Phoenix for 2 months and 20 days when we visited. The mother (and her husband) was originally from Palestine though arrived in Iraq in the late 1940s. Despite being in Iraq for over 60 years and the children being born there, they were not considered to be of Iraqi nationality and therefore none carried Iraqi documents. They did however live peacefully until the last regime fell. Because of the increase in random arrests and afraid for their safety, the family left 3 years ago for a camp on the border of Iraq and Syria. They struggled through the seasonal elements and lacked electricity, food and purified water. It was in the camp that the father passed away one and half years ago. Prior to entering the camp, the daughters obtained diplomas while the oldest brother (in this apartment) obtained a degree in physics (he has found work here at a cosmetics factory). The family left everything behind (including extended family that they hope will be able to leave) however they are very happy to be living out of tents, with walls and doors surrounding them. They value the peace and security they have found here, which to them is even more important than food and water. The mother was a tailor for 35 years in Iraq and would appreciate any sewing items that may be donated.
The second family we visited was part of the first family we saw. Another brother (also with a physics degree) arrived at the same time as his mother and siblings with his wife and one-year-old daughter. We visited with the wife and adorable daughter only as dad was at work (the same factory as his other brother). Their story is the same as the rest of the husband’s family. The mother was a scientist (also with a physics degree in science) and taught within the border camp. She hopes to be able to re-certify her degree here. Most of her family is now in the USA, in Tucson, though she has yet to see them since her arrival. If one is available, a crib for their beautiful daughter would be appreciated.
The final family we visited was a young couple that arrived in the USA from Iraq near the end of February. The husband worked as a translator with the coalition forces for seven years. Because of security reasons, he basically remained in one town for four years time. He has yet to find a job here. The couple feels safe and comfortable here. They are expecting a child in the fall and are looking forward to the baby’s arrival. The wife’s family should arrive in the USA sometime within the next year. The wife spends quite a bit of time at home – any items to help pass time would be appreciated. She especially likes to paint!