The first family we will visit is from Somalia and consists of a father (34), mother (24), one daughter (20), and four sons (16, 14, 12 and six). The father lived in a refugee camp in Ethiopia for 20 years with his older brother and the brother’s family. When his brother died he married his sister-in-law. The father’s family was farmers in Somalia. In the refugee camp the mother had a small coffee shop that helped their family. The children had some schooling in the camp. The father has very recently started a new job working in maintenance for a Phoenix school district. He carpools every day and pays a fee for the service. The family is very happy to be here. When asked if they would want to return to Somalia someday, the father said perhaps if the situation changes there but right now they are grateful to be in this country. One of the family’s top priorities is to learn English. The four younger children are in school and enjoy it very much.
The next family we will visit is a small Somali family consisting of a mother (35) and her daughter (12). The mother studied English in Uganda where she and her daughter fled after leaving Somalia. She has an excellent grasp of the English language although she’s barely been here one month. Her father was killed early on in Somalia. A few years later both her mother and brothers were killed as well. She was an extremely young child living with her grandmother when the war became intense and people began to flee. Her grandmother felt she was not strong enough to make the journey to Kenya. The mother left with a female neighbor on the condition that if she transported her she would go to work caring for her children and for the house. She did this for several years until she decided to marry. When the marriage failed, she returned to the woman she had worked for only to find she could no longer work there. She found another woman to work for but the second person was much worse, treating her very poorly. She has made a world of sacrifice to better her daughter’s life. She is in need of another large sofa and school items for her daughter. The daughter made a special request for a bicycle, and the mother feels a television would help her daughter learn English much faster.