One family we will visit is a single mother (age 38) and her three children (daughter age 16, and two sons ages 15 and 9). The mother is originally from Somalia, which she left with her family of origin in 1992. All three children were born in a refugee camp in Djibouti. The mother sold tea to people in the camp to make ends meet. She does not mention her husband. The children are all presently attending school and enjoy it. Mom wants to be an American and to learn English and computers along with her kids. She likes the smell of incense. She greets visitors with “thumbs up” and a big smile.
Another family we will visit is a single mother (age 27) and her three children (two daughters, ages 12 and 10 and an eight year old son). The mother left Eritrea in 2008 and stayed in a refugee camp in Ethiopia before she arrived in Phoenix. Mom wants to learn English and to meet some other families so she is not so isolated. She was friendly with one family in their apartment complex, but that family moved away recently. The children are attending school in Phoenix and like it. The eight year old son is paralyzed from the waist down. He uses a wheel chair. Mom requested a bed with a special rail to keep him in because she worries that he will fall out. Mom loves colorful flowers, and has decorated the apartment with them.
The third family consists of a newly arrived single mother (age 24) and her son (age 3) and daughter (age 2). Their grandmother and grandfather have moved in with them. The mother also has support from two sisters that arrived in Arizona previously. They all attend a church that is close to their apartment. This Burmese family left their homeland and stayed in a Thai refugee camp 13 years before arriving in Arizona less than a month ago. The mother speaks some English, which she learned in Thailand. The children are alert and very busy.