Our first visit was to a Cuban family consisting of dad (32), mom (28) and two sons (ages 4 and 2). The father was a Buddhist leader in Cuba and was persecuted. Five years ago he applied to be accepted as a refugee. In June 2010 he had his first interview and in February of this year he had his second. They arrived in the United States on August 4th. They have made several friends and are eager to get jobs. The father has a degree in Marine Biology. He also taught computer skills and worked in tourism where he learned English. He is an only child and left his mother in Cuba, but is hopeful she can come live with them eventually. His wife was a nurse in Cuba. All of her family in Cuba.
Our second visit was to a single mother (25) and her three children. She has two sons ages 9 and 7 and one 2 year old daughter. The mother left Eritrea as a child with her family and does not remember much about it. She lived in an Ethiopian camp where she met the children’s father. She did not mention what happened to him. They arrived on July 7th. The two older children are enrolled in school. The mother has made a friend in the apartment complex which is helpful for support.
The last family is originally from Burma, where they farmed rice. They were not able to go to school. They left their town and landed in refugee camp in Thailand where they had been since 1995. The mother and father were married in the camp and had three children that are now 11, 9 and 6 (all boys). While in the camp, the mother worked as a nurse’s aid in a hospital and the children were able to go to school. They are thankful to be here. The children have started school and are comfortable, although they need to learn English. Mother and father are very motivated to learn English and find a job. The mother needs an eye exam and glasses so she can read more easily. One of the children was sick and taken to the hospital and missed some school. The mother showed some frustration at having trouble communicating with the hospital staff and school. She said it was nice to have company because they have been bored at home without friends and work.