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October 22, 2011

Bhutanese FlagOur first family is from Bhutan and consists of a father (46), mother (40), daughter (16) and son (15). The oldest son (21) is still in Nepal waiting to join the family. The mother and daughter were the only ones home on the day we visited. They were farmers in southern Bhutan, an area populated by Bhutanese who are descendants of Nepalese immigrants. This family was forced to leave Bhutan in 1992, along with many thousands of Bhutanese, due to religious persecution. They lived in a refugee camp during that time. The mother expressed gratitude to be here in Arizona and wonderment at how different it is compared to Bhutan and Nepal. The lively and upbeat daughter is enjoying high school. She has a great eye for color and with her few possessions she has decorated her bedroom nicely. Special requests: knitting/crochet supplies in bright colors, king sheet to use as sofa cover, sport ball, school supplies.

Somali FlagOur second family is from Somalia. This large smiling family consists of a father (43), mother (39) and 8 children including two sets of twins! The children are four boys (16, 13, and 7-year old twins) and four girls (16-year old twins, 10 and 6). On the day we visited two of the children were at the dentist. The other children were courteous, friendly and seemed very much as ease. The mother also has a 20-year old daughter in Somalia but she does not know where. The father worked in a sugar factory in Somalia for many years. Forced to leave Somalia in 1991, the family fled to Saudia Arabia where they lived until 2008. They were deported back to Somalia in 2008 and went to live at a brother’s house. Their home was invaded by terrorists and the father was beaten unconscious. The mother was beaten so badly that she miscarried the child she was carrying (8 months into her pregnancy). The oldest son and grandmother were shot and killed when the boy ran out from hiding and tried to save his mother. The dad still has a medical problem with his shoulder. The family took a boat to Turkey after this incident staying there two years before coming to Arizona. The father said, “my own people don’t love us like the people in the United States.” His sadness is evident yet he is so happy and grateful for the safety, security and welcome he finds here. Special requests: bicycles for 7-year old boys, blender or mixer.

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