Our first family is from Somalia, a widowed single mother and her three adorable children (two boys ages 6 and 7, and a 5 year old girl). Also living with them is their grandmother. The mother and the children came to America in July and her mother followed 15 days later. They originally fled Somalia in 1991 due to the civil war. After going to different countries in Africa they ended up in Kenya. There she rejoined her mother and father in a refugee camp, but not until 1997, after going around the camp asking everyone around if they knew them. They finally found each other and were together in Kenya the whole time until they came to the US. Her father died in the camp in Kenya.
They are happy to be in America. The boys like their school. Their younger sister is not old enough for school yet, and is not very happy about that. She keeps asking when she can go to school with her brothers.
The grandmother used to knit and crochet when she was in the camp, and she showed us some beautiful pieces that she had made. We will be bringing her some knitting supplies on our next delivery.
As for the mother, she worked as a housekeeper in Kenya. She hopes to find work here soon, and for her and her mom to learn English. She is hopeful for a bright future for her and her family. She said she wants for her children to grow up to be successful people. As for herself her dream is to become a nurse.
Our second family is also from Somalia – a mother of 3 children (two girls ages 15 and 8 and a 13-year-old boy) and her husband. Only the mom was home when we visited. Her husband was out looking for a job and the kids were in school. The family arrived in the US in August. After fleeing Somalia, they’ve lived in Kenya since 1993. She had separated from the father of the children due to domestic violence and re-married in 2006. Her current husband helped her find and get her children back after her ex-husband had abandoned them.
She met her current husband in the camp in Kenya, and they opened and ran a small restaurant together. She is a very good cook and hopes to open a restaurant in Phoenix. However, her dream is to one day own a big hotel. She said she hopes for her and her family to continue to lead a better life than they did before.
Our third family is from Burundi, a widower and his 5 children. A very nice family, the children are all very well behaved and sweet. He also has another 19-year-old son living alone in a different apartment. The mother died in 2002 when their youngest child was only 7 months old. He re-married 7 years later. His wife came to America on a separate case and is now in Missouri. They are hoping to be together soon.
The father had left Burundi in 1972 when he was 7 years old. He and his family fled to the Congo and then to Tanzania where they lived for the last 15 years. There he worked as a counselor for Sexual Gender-Based Violence.
He has been in America for less than a month. He speaks English fairly well and hopes to find a good job soon. On the day we visited them he was on his way to enroll his 17-year-old daughter in school. She was very excited even though she did not speak any English.