December 22, 2012

Sudanese flagThis large family from Sudan includes the father (52), mother (40), three daughters (18, 13 and two), and three sons (17, 16 and 4). The four year old boy is autistic. The father was a farmer in Sudan. He moved to Libya in 1978 to find work. When the couple married in 1992 the family moved to Libya permanently. They liked their life in Libya and enjoyed good schools for the children. The father worked as an auto mechanic. However, a year and a half ago they were forced to flee to Egypt due to turmoil in Libya. They lived in a refugee camp. From the refugee camp they came to the United States and arrived in Arizona in early November. They still have family in Sudan and in Libya. Most of their children are already attending school in Arizona. The eighteen-year old daughter is frustrated because she is not in school. In Libya she was in a school for the gifted and she enjoys learning. Due to regulations in Arizona she cannot attend high school. Instead she will need to find work, to save money and attend a community college.   The family needs diapers for the four and two-year old children as well as warm clothes, and especially shoes for the winter. The father expresses his gratitude for their new life in Arizona. “It is a nice place and feels welcoming.  My family feels respect and dignity here,” he says.

Cuban FlagThe next family we will visit is from Cuba and consists of the mother (49) and her daughter (10) who is attending school. Their apartment is unfurnished except for one bed. The mother and daughter currently share the one bed. The woman lived in Spain for twelve years before coming to the United States. She moved to Spain to find work. She worked in hotel housekeeping and in restaurants. Her daughter was born in Spain. When the economy slid in Spain and unemployment rose to twenty-five percent she knew she had to leave. She and her daughter went to Canada then crossed over the border to the United States. They arrived in Arizona in early November. The mother will take any job here and is anxious to work. She already has visited a local community college to sign up for school. Her own mother is still in Spain and she also has relatives in Cuba. Her hopes are for a better life here and for her daughter to do well in school and be successful.

Sudanese flagThe third family we will visit is from Sudan. The family consists of the father (44), mother (35), four daughters (20, 19, 9 and 3) and five sons (15, 13, 10, and five-year old twins). The parents and some of the children are attending English classes. The oldest daughter speaks English. This large family has two apartments. The parents sleep in one with the younger children and the older children sleep in the other. However, they all cook and eat in one apartment. This family left Sudan for Libya where the father worked as a mechanic. The children attended school in Libya where they learned to speak English. The family was forced to leave and fled to Egypt two years ago. There was no work in Egypt. It took three days to travel by air to the United States. The family is happy to be here where they can study and work. The daughter requested a large tub to hand wash laundrybecause that is how they are accustomed to doing laundry.




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