Our first family is originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, formerly Zaire. With his family of 10 he fled to Tanzania because of the civil war, leaving behind his older son and aging parents. They stayed in the refugee camps of Kigoma, Tanzania for one and a half years. Life at the camp was no different than living in a jail as food, education, and health services were luxuries. Coming to the USA was a benediction because the institutions in this country fulfill everything they were missing in their own country. He was a vocational math teacher, but he cannot seek employment in that field because of credential issues.
With his wife and 19 year old daughter, he has been attending the English Language Program in Woodbridge. The remaining children just finished the required vaccinations and are working with the Case Manager to start school. The family has extended support from a friend from Congo who is a five year resident and lives nearby.
Our second family is from Somalia and consists of a Mother, Father and five sons ages 25, 20, 19, 12 and 9. One of the sons is blind and deaf. At the time of our home visit we were only able to meet with their 19 year old son.
Our third family is a charming young couple from Iraq and their very active 1 year old daughter. The couple has been married for three years and had over 1,500 people at their wedding. After leaving Iraq, they lived in Istanbul, Turkey for 1 1/2 years. They said in some ways Turkey was worse than Iraq. They were not allowed to work and most of the Turks didn’t want them there. They arrived in Phoenix about 5 weeks ago. When we asked the husband what we could bring for him, he said that it was very difficult because he was not brought up this way, to ask for help.