August 4, 2012

Iraqi FlagThe first family we will visit is from Iraq. This family of five consists of a mother (59), three sons (39, 27, and 18) and one daughter (23). The family fled Iraq to Turkey in 2011. They were not allowed to work in Turkey. After a little over a year in Turkey the family came to the United States. They arrived in Arizona in May. Three of the four children speak excellent English and one of the brothers taught English grammar in Iraq. The family is happy to be in their new community.  The mother says that it is good to be here. “The life of the people here is happy.  There is security.  I feel safe,” she says, when speaking of the family’s new life in the United States. Another brother (39) will join the family in Arizona soon. The youngest son, who is an outgoing and friendly young man, is looking forward to attending high school this month. The other children, all young adults, are willing to take any available work right now. The son who taught in Iraq hopes to be able to teach here someday. He is an avid reader and would love to have more books.

Iraqi FlagThe second family we will visit is also from Iraq. The family consists of a father and mother, and two young girls, aged seven and five. They were originally from the city Mosul. They had to flee their home when it became too dangerous to remain. The family spent over 2 years in Lebanon before coming to the US. They were resettled in Arizona only a few weeks ago. Their apartment is reasonably comfortable already because the husband’s mother has an apartment nearby and lent them some of her own furniture and household goods. The little girls are very happy and comforted to live near their grandmother again. The oldest girl is looking forward to starting school. Like many of the young children we visit, she would love to receive a bicycle. The younger daughter cannot walk because of problems with her feet.  She needs a special chair to enable her to move around.

Bhutanese FlagThe third family we will visit this week is from Bhutan. The family consists of the father (69), mother (47), two sons (19, 13) and two daughters (20, 17). The oldest daughter is a college student who arrived in the United States with her father a year ago. The others arrived in April. There is also an older brother who lives in New York. When they lived in Bhutan the father was a village chief and the family led a peaceful life. However, in 1990 the family had to flee their homeland due to civil war and religious persecution. The oldest child was two at the time.  After they fled Bhutan their first dwelling was a plastic tent. During the first six months as refugees they witnessed the deaths of many people. The only available food was rice for those six months. After that, their living conditions improved. The education was very good (all the children speak excellent English). The older children helped to teach in the schools after they graduated. Three of the children will start school in Arizona in August. Although the family would love to go back to Bhutan, they know that is not possible, and feel that the United States is the best place to raise their family.


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