Our first family is originally from Burundi. They consist of a mother, three boys (ages 18, 16 and 11) and one daughter age 9. They have been apart from the father since 2005 and are not sure where he is. The mother has been moving from place to place since she was 6 years old, to stay safe. During their stay in Zambia, the family cultivated rice, corn, beans, sorghum, soy, and several other vegetables to eat and sell in order to send the older children to school. This family has been here for a little over a month. They are having a tough transition and feel isolated but look forward to making friends and adapting to the lifestyle here. The three youngest children are attending school and the oldest wants to go to college to possibly be an engineer. The mother also would like to go to school to work in the medical field. They love movies and music, and played some beautiful music from Burundi during our visit.
Our second family is from Iraq. This family of four consists of a father, mother and two very active boys (age 3 and 4). They had a brother in law who was killed by Al Qaeda so they escaped to Turkey along with the mother’s sister and her children. They said times were tough in Turkey because they had no money or residency. They applied for refugee status and arrived here about 2 months ago. The father was a truck driver and mechanic in Iraq. The mother taught history and geography at a University. They are both eager to learn English and get work.
The last family we visited is a father, mother, two boys (5 and 4 years old) and a one-year-old girl from Iraq. The father owned a furniture business and the mother stayed home with the children. They said successful businesses are often targets and they began receiving threatening letters to leave. Because of the threats and constant daily explosions nearby, they decided to leave and go to Turkey. They described Turkey as cold and expensive. While in Turkey, they applied for refugee status and within 10 months they were able to come here. They feel safe and comfortable here.