This Burmese family consists of a male, age 38, his wife, age 33, and their two sons, ages 10 and 4. The family does not speak English, and the father was not there as he was working in a local furniture factory, and the 10 year old son was in school. The family arrived in Arizona on 26 February from Thailand where they had lived in a camp. The mother described the experience there as “very, very difficult”, especially not being eligible for work permits. The wife fled Burma when military attacked her village in 1996. She was separated from her parents during the incident and fled with friends to Thailand. She was not reunited with her parents until 2003, and she lived with them in a camp until she married her husband in 2005. They resided in the Thai camp for 10 years. During this time their sons were born. She proudly showed us certificates displayed on the wall which showed that she completed a nursing assistant course and worked in this field. Her parents and two younger siblings settled in Arizona prior to her family’s arrival in 2015. She dreams of going to school and becoming a nurse. She hopes that her two sons will not only be able to graduate from college, but also complete a graduate degree. Currently, she is studying English in an ESL class in her area.
This Afghanistan family is composed of a male, age 28, his wife, age 21, and their three year old son. They arrived in Arizona in February after being granted a visa because of his work as a translator for four years. He speaks good English and is currently employed in a furniture factory but he is a tailor by profession. He said that he went to Pakistan as a refugee to learn English and lived there from 1996 to 2006. He began working on his American visa in July 2012, and it was finally granted to him and his family in December 2014. His hope is to eventually bring both his and his wife’s family to the States. His wife has worked as a makeup artist in the past, and she is currently learning English through ESL classes. He said that he came here for a better and safer life for his family, especially his son.
This man is originally from Burma and arrived in the U.S three months ago from a refugee camp in Malaysia, where he stayed for the past four years while waiting to receive his visa. In Burma, his family owned a farm which was taken away from the military by force. His family still resides there so he’s in the U.S alone. He is currently studying English and would like to find a job at a restaurant or a convenience store. He is adjusting well and really loves the freedom of life he has here, especially being able to walk around town freely and sleeping well.