Our first family is a single mother from the Congo with her seven children (ages 16, 14, 12, 12, 10, 7, 4). In 1996 after war broke out in the Congo, the mother’s family fled from their village to another village which was in a safer area. Then, in 2001, war also came to that village, and they fled this time to Rwanda. There they lived in a refugee camp. One day the husband left the camp to go back to the Congo to try and make some money for his family. He never returned. The mother heard he had been killed. In September of 2010, they came to Phoenix. All the children were in school when we visited, except for the four year old girl. The mother works at a local Elementary School.
Our next family is from Iraq. There is a father, mother, 16-year-old daughter and 1-year-old daughter. The father’s English was very good and he enjoyed talking and joking with us. They left Iraq eight years ago and have traveled from country to country. First, they went to Jordan and Syria, but the father was not allowed to work. Next, they traveled to the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain. They spent three years in Bahrain before coming to the U.S. The husband has a sister who lives in Phoenix, and she is helping them adjust. They arrived only one month ago. The 16 year old daughter will be starting school soon.
The final family we visited was from Burma. This family consists of a single mom and two children, a 10-year-old daughter and a 6-year-old son. They arrived just two weeks ago. The children will start school as soon as their medical exams and vaccinations are completed. The mom left Burma about 16 years ago and was too young to remember the journey or the reason for leaving. She married in the refugee camp and had her children. The husband left the camp in Thailand to search for work and was killed. The mother has a sister who lives nearby. The children would like some toys to play with.