August 24, 2013

Democratic Republic of Congo flagThe first family we will visit is from the Congo. The father (51) and mother (36) have six children, ranging in age from five to twenty years old. The mother and father were both teachers in the Congo. The mother taught elementary school while the father taught French, history, math and economics. The parents fled the Congo in 2008 with their children, after both parents were severely tortured. The family was in Kampala, Uganda for three years before they came to the USA only one month ago. All of the children were able to attend school in Uganda, and they are eager to start school in Arizona. They speak French and some English, as well as Kiswahili, and they are eager to learn. The mother and father speak some English too. They are both hoping to find work teaching again. This family is very grateful to be safe in the USA.

Iraqi FlagThe second family we will visit is from Iraq. The father (40) and mother (40) have five children, who are 19, 15, 11, 6 and 4. The father worked as a mechanic in Iraq. The mother stayed home with her children, who all were able to go to school. After the father was kidnapped and shot, the family fled to Syria. Refugees are not allowed to work legally in Syria, so the father worked at odd jobs to support the family. After repeated threats to the family, that the family felt came from their Iraqi kidnappers, the family moved from Damascus to Latakia. Safety still eluded them, so they returned to Iraq. Now they are finally here and safe in the United States. The children have started school and are already picking up English quite well. They are very grateful to be in Arizona,  although they are distressed that there are scorpions here! They are looking forward to their future.

Burmese FlagThe last family we will visit is from Burma. The mother (50) and the father (53) live with their 7-year old son. They have a 27-year old son who lives here in Phoenix, and has been in the USA for five years. The mother and the father both left Burma in 1985 although they did not know each other then. They were affected by the civil war in Burma, and relate that citizens were forced into labor for the army. It was impossible to earn a living when working for free for the army; so their families left for Thailand. The mother and father met in the refugee camp and their sons were born there. The younger son is enrolled in school, and his parents say he is doing well.  The mother is hoping to be able to move closer to her older son. They are happy to have their family reunited in Arizona.


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