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Family Bios: November 9, 2019

On Saturday morning, we will visit a family of ten who came to America in early May 2019.  The father and mother had spent the last 20+ years in a Congo refugee camp, but most recently spent two years in a refugee camp in Tanzania.  The husband and wife met at the Congo refugee camp, and all of their children were born and have been raised in a refugee camp.  The father has utilized his skills as a mechanic in the past and currently does have a job.  The family has had a positive experience since coming to the US.  The school-age children are enrolled in and are attending school.

We will also visit a family of eight who arrived in America in late August 2019.  They came to America so that their children could have a good education and would be safe.  Previously in Afghanistan, the father worked as a security coordinator for over ten years.  He is actively looking for a job and hopes that he can find one close to their home so that he can bike to work, as he has no transportation.  The father speaks excellent English, and he is confident that his children will learn English at their school and by being in the US.  The mother is a gracious host and a wonderful housekeeper.

We will also see a family of six from Tanzania, who came to America in August 2019.   They all speak Swahili and have a neighbor who is able to translate to English, if needed.   The father lost his sight about four months ago (he is hopeful that he might regain his sight, if medically possible in the US), and his wife died prior to the family coming to America.    The father has two sons and two daughters.  One daughter has a young daughter, as well.  Three of the children are currently going to school, while the oldest daughter has a job.

Saturday afternoon, we will welcome a 26-year old refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo.  He fled to Burundi in 2003 to escape the war.  He first arrived in Pennsylvania one year ago, but did not like the cold weather there, so he moved to Phoenix in January of this year.  He is currently working at a food packing company, has bought a car, and is hoping to buy a house in a few years.  His hope is that his wife and 3 children (7, 4 & 2 years old) who are still living in a refugee camp in Burundi can come join him in the US soon.

We will also welcome a 28-year-old mother from the Democratic Republic of Congo in the afternoon. She has 1 year-old twin daughters.  The mother left the Congo in 2006 by herself fleeing war and landed in Nairobi, Kenya.  She came to the US in 2016.  Her daughters were born here in the US but their father is living in Rwanda.  She has been working in food production for about a year.

We will also see a family from Central Africa, including the father, mother and son. Before coming to America, they knew each other in Central Africa, but came separately, the father settling in Colorado with his family, and the mother in Arizona.  They connected in Arizona and now have a 1 year-old son, and are expecting another son in February.  The father is a caregiver working mostly nights, but would like to go to school to become a nurse when possible.

Family Bios: November 2, 2019

On Saturday afternoon, we will meet a young woman from Afghanistan. She fled her homeland, a country that has endured ongoing violence for generations, for Pakistan when she was 7 years old. She left with her family including her mother, father and two brothers. In Pakistan, she was able to take English classes and also learned another five languages, including Dari and Farsi.  In 2016, after both of her parents had died, she and her brothers moved again to Turkey. She worked in restaurants, cleaning hotels and doing seamstress work as she awaited asylum. She arrived in the US in August of this year but both of her brothers have been resettled in Switzerland.  She is currently looking for a job and hopes to be able to also go back to school to study fashion and marketing.  She is enjoying Phoenix and has already made some friends here.

We will also meet a family from Liberia. The father fled the civil war in Liberia with his family in 1996. He said his family had been persecuted; his parents were killed and he himself was shot two times during ongoing conflicts. Because it was unsafe to flee in large groups, he and his siblings split up on their journeys to safety.  He went to the Ivory Coast, his sister went to Guinea and his brother went to Senegal. He has not been in touch with his siblings and doesn’t know if they are safe.  His daughter was born in the Ivory Coast, where she was able to attend school. She was taught in French, the primary language of Ivory Coast/Cote d’Ivoire, but his daughter was also able to learn some English. He was an elementary school teacher in Ivory Coast and also helped with repatriation classes at the UNHRC camp.  The family arrived in Phoenix in July 2019. The daughter is enrolled in school and really enjoys it; she is already making friends and improving her English. The father is currently looking for work. He has a friend here, another refugee who arrived two years ago, who is a support. The father says that Phoenix is beautiful and hot, and that it is a very kind place.

Family Bios: October 26, 2019

We will visit a family whooriginates from Burma. The family fled together to Malaysia to escape violent conditions in their hometown. When living in Malaysia, the family moved into a house and the father and sons supported the family working in construction. After facing dangerous conditions in Malaysia, they fled to America and have been here since June. Since arriving in America, the two oldest sons have enrolled in high school and are very happy to be receiving an education and learning English. The mother is staying at home with the two youngest sons who are still too young to go to school. The father is currently looking for work and is excited for the opportunity to work in America. The family said that they feel a sense of freedom in the US and are very hopeful for the future.

We will also welcome amother and her four children who originate from the DRC. The mother met her husband in the Congo and they gave birth to their first child there. Six months before fleeing, her husband passed away, leaving her to flee to Burundi on her own with her young child. The mother arrived in Burundi in 2008 and stayed in a refugee camp there for 11 years where she had her other three children. She arrived in America in late June and is very excited to have secured a job in food production. The three oldest children are in school while her youngest child stays at home. The mother’s sister in law also lives in the area, so she has someone to help her out. The family is so happy to be in America and to be safe.

Our third family also originates in the DRC. Six months before fleeing, the mother and father were married. The couple fled together in 1997 to live in a refugee camp in Rwanda. They had 5 children in Rwanda who are now aged 10 – 20 years old. While in the camp, the oldest daughter graduated from secondary school and learned fundamental English skills which she is very thankful for now that she lives in America. The youngest four children are enrolled in school, but the oldest daughter was turned away from high school because she is over the age limit. She is hopeful to obtain her GED and one day attend college. The father is hoping to start work soon and integrate into American culture. The family said that life in America is a lot better than life in the refugee camp. They now all have enough to eat and drink and are hopeful for the future.

Family Bios: October 19, 2019 (afternoon)

We’ll meet a couple from Afghanistan and their three young children. The husband, fluent in English, worked with US military on some of the most dangerous of missions. Because of this association, he and his family were in constant risk of danger and the US moved them to safety and out of Afghanistan. His eldest daughter wants to be a doctor and his son wants to be an engineer.  The family is working hard to know English. The husband has already found work after only a few weeks in our country.

And we will meet a couple from Afghanistan who will join their children here in Phoenix. The husband is a film maker and the wife worked with a US company based in Afghanistan. They arrived only weeks ago along with their youngest son. The family is very happy to all be united again.