When we arrived to visit our first family, it was clear we had woken them up. The father explained that their young son had finally fallen asleep at about 4:00 am and since his son didn’t want to sleep in the playpen, dad was left to sleep on the floor. This young couple, with a 1 1/2 year old son, is originally from Baghdad, Iraq. The father had worked with some contractors from the US when his family was threatened. They fled Iraq and went to Egypt but were not allowed to work there. While they were in Egypt the mother became pregnant. Since her family was in Syria, the mother left Egypt for Syria to be with them until the baby was born. She then flew back to Egypt. They arrived in Phoenix on November 23, 2009. The father has a job at Safeway as a cashier and is due to start very soon.
At our next family visit, we were greeted by our interpreter who was a 13 year old niece. Since it was Spring Break at school, she was there to help interpret and to have some fun with her cousins. This family is from Bhutan and has a mom and dad and two children, a 12 year old son and 5 year old girl. The mom and 12 year old son were at the hospital. The 12 year old was there because he had undergone two surgeries. The father was 15 years old when he fled Bhutan for Nepal. His family members had been beaten in Bhutan and told to leave. He spent the next 18 years of his life in a refugee camp. It was there he met his wife and had two children. He has not found a job, yet. The family arrived on November 2, 2009.
The last family we visited is also from Bhutan. This family is a mother, father and two children, a 5 year old girl and 10 year old boy. The father was 16 when they left Bhutan and the mother was 12. The next 18 years were spent in the refugee camp. They arrived here on November 23, 2009. The son is going to school and is in the 4th grade. The father has a temporary cleaning job at the airport and hopes to pass a “badge test” in order to have a permanent job. The mother is glad to be here, but is very worried about her parents. They are in their 80’s and still living in the refugee camp in Nepal. Her father was so upset that they could not go with their family to the US, that he left the camp and has not been seen since.