Our first family this week, from Burma, is a single Mom, 28, and two boys ages 11 and two. They have been in Arizona for only three weeks. They spent 11 years in a refugee camp in Thailand. They are very sweet and humble and did not ask for anything even though they have very little. The mom did not want to say much about their journey but they are happy to be here in the United States. The 11-year boy is deaf and he knows sign language. He is adorable and curious and likes hugs! The children do not have many toys or clothes. Aside from furniture, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom items, Mom could really use a stroller for the 2-year-old, a vacuum cleaner and a large plastic tub to wash clothes as well as cleaning and personal hygiene products.
The second family also is from Burma. They lived in Thailand before coming to the United States. A large family, there is a grandmother, 85, mom, 43 and five children, three boys, ages 18, 16, and 8 and two girls, ages 13 and 10. The children were shy, polite and had beautiful smiles. On the day we visited their cousin translated for us. The Mom was not home as she was attending English class. They have been here for six months and all seven live in a two bedroom apartment. They are “happy to join this place,” as one of the children told us. They have a need for closed toed shoes. We measured some of the children’s feet so we could judge their size. They thought this was very funny! They also could use books and toys and school supplies. On their wish list are bikes as well.
Our third family, a single man, age 24, from Iraq, is joyous, cordial and full of energy. He has been here for two months. He is an actor, ballet dancer and modern dancer and a Christian. He told us that in Iraq these were a mark against him. One day someone from the militia came to him and told him he would be killed if he didn’t leave Iraq. He and his seven-member family left for Syria and lived there for 3 1/2 years. Because Syria was not a very good place for them, the rest of the family moved back to Iraq. He is happy to be here in the United States and will work to have his family reunited here. His apartment was very bare and he will be grateful for anything we can provide. We noted that he needs a large cooking pot and could use a fan and tea kettle.