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October 9, 2010

Burmese FlagThere’s a baby coming! This happy, grateful family is anticipating the birth of their baby boy this October. He will come home to two sisters, ages 2 and 4 and a big brother who is 6 and already in school. The family just arrived here from Burma July 12 and yet the dad was able to serve as his own interpreter. In 1975, when he was only 4, his family had been attacked and forced by the Burmese military to leave their farm. They fled to a village on the other side of the border in Thailand. They were able to stay here until 1995 when the Burmese soldiers again attacked chasing the family into a refugee camp where they have been until they were able to come to America this past summer. He met his wife and married in the camp in 2001. While living in the camp he taught English, Burmese and Karen to the children. He has been working for a hotel since Sept. 1st. He is glad to have a job as having enough money worries him. His wife’s parents are still in Burma. His parents, 3 sisters and 1 brother were all able to immigrate to Norway but Norway would not accept him. Before we left, he asked to learn how to use the microwave his pastor had given him.

Burmese FlagOur second family, also from Burma, has two little boys, ages 2 and 3, who were very busy coloring. We visited with the mom and her brother. The husband was at work at a Laundromat, where the brother also works. They said their family was forced to leave their rice farm in Burma in 1975. They went directly to a refugee camp in Thailand until they came here. They said the camp was very large…about 7 times bigger than the apartment complex they are now living in. In the camp they were able to study English, Burmese and Karen. Although very happy and relieved to be here now, they admitted the trip getting here was rough. The kids got airplane sickness, causing the adults to get sick…and then it was surprisingly hot in Phoenix. They have now adjusted and are trying to learn English. Their parents are still there. When asked if there was anything else they’d like us to know, the response was, “All people suffer from Burmese authority.”

Somali FlagOur last visit was with a beautifully dressed mother of 5 from Somalia. Her children are 4, 6, 9, 18 and 19. All but the 4-year-old little girl are in school, trying to learn English. Her family was forced to leave their home in Somalia in 1993. They went to Kakuma, a large refugee camp in Kenya. Here they were able to grow fruits, like oranges and bananas, as they had in Somalia. Her husband is still somewhere in Africa but she doesn’t know his whereabouts. Both her parents were killed in the fighting. She says the only thing hard for her now is that she doesn’t know English, although she is taking classes to learn. She’s only been here 2 months.

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