On Saturday morning, we will meet a family of seven from Burundi, who arrived in the US in April 2015. The family includes the father, mother and five children, including three sons and two daughters. The family spent 13 years in a refugee camp, where the father worked as a cook in the camp and the mother provide delivery services. The children all attended school while in the camp. The father is currently working at Sky Harbor and the mother is working in a laundry. The family is glad to be in the US safe and the children can receive a quality education. They are looking forward to buying a home too.
We will also meet a family of five from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The family spent 16 years in a refugee camp in Burundi. The husband and wife met in the camp and were married. The father was a driver in the camp and all the children were born in the camp. The family has a son (age 9 years) and two daughters (ages 7 and 5 years). The father is currently working at Sky Harbor. The mother is expecting another child in three months. The family says everything is good in America and the family is glad to be safe and the children can receive a good education.
And we will meet a young man who fled Cameroon to Algeria due to persecution. He lived for many years in Algeria before finding safety here in the United States.
This weekend, we will visit a young mother from Honduras. Six years ago, she trekked from Honduras, through Guatemala, to Mexico, where she spent a month waiting to be admitted into the US. She has built a new life in Phoenix, getting married, having a son (5 years old) and is now pregnant with another baby due in February. She is also mom to an older daughter (16 years old) and an older son (12 years old). While she is shy about speaking English, she understands very well. She is grateful to WTAP for supporting her as she anticipates the arrival of her new baby and continues to make a home in Phoenix.
We will also visit a family of four from Mexico who arrived in the US in March. The mother and father have two daughters (4 and 10 years old). They arrived on a visa and are now applying for permanent status as they cannot return to Mexico. They do not have other family in the US, but they already have many friends. The older daughter is in school. She goes to the library to check out books for herself and for her sister, so they can both learn English. The mother said when they arrived, they had nothing. She made a make-shift sofa out of packing boxes, a small blanket and some pillows and her kitchen table is borrowed from a friend. She is grateful for the support of WTAP and the assistance in helping her make her house a home.
This Saturday morning, we will meet three families from the Congo and learn more about their families and their journeys.
In the afternoon, we will meet a young mother and her 11-year old daughter. The mother is originally from Eritrea. She fled Eritrea with her family when she was a girl and tried to resettle in Sudan. When war broke out in Sudan, the family was forced to flee again. The mother was 13 years old and the time they arrive in Kenya. In Kenya, the mother was able to attend school and learn some English. She also had her daughter while in camp in Kenya. The family has been here for about 2 months. Mom is still looking for a job. The daughter is enrolled in school and really enjoying it. Her English is coming along well. Mom’s sister and her children also live in Phoenix. Mom’s other sister and mother have returned to Sudan to try to be repatriated. Mom said she is happy to be in Phoenix with her daughter and is very grateful to WTAP.
We will also meet a couple from Senegal. The young men met each other as little boys and then grew up and fell in love. Their families did not accept their relationship; once their relationship was discovered, both young men faced violence and abandonment from their families. One of the men had a friend who helped him escape to Morocco. As soon as he could, he helped his partner escape through Mauritania to Morocco. The couple waited 5 years in Morocco before being granted asylum. Both young men are currently working. They have dreams of one day getting back to being businessmen. For now, they are happy to be here, are making friends with their neighbors and are grateful for the support of WTAP.
Another family we will meet is from Afghanistan. The couple arrived in July and has a new baby. The father was a translator for the coalition forces, specifically the US Marines and Army. Before that work, he was an English teacher and a headmaster. Mother was trying to enroll in the university when the family was told they had to leave right away as the father was under constant threats for having worked with the coalition forces. The father is looking for work now. He has a friend in Phoenix who has been helping the family. The mother is a bit lonely and this quick transition after having the baby, and being here without family, has been hard. But she is happy that her husband is safe. The father said the best thing about Phoenix is that he feels free, for the first time in a long time. He is looking forward to building a future for his family here.
This weekend we will welcome a young refugee and her elderly parents from the Democratic Republic of Congo. They fled the DRC because it was too dangerous a place to live after long years of war. This July, they arrived in Arizona after spending two decades in a refugee camp in Tanzania. Over the years they have had to leave many family members behind. The young woman must first find work to support herself and her parents, but hopes she can also find ways to receive an education along the way.
Arriving in Arizona this June, our next family is also originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Now a family of seven, the parents met and married in a refugee camp in Tanzania after fleeing the violence in their country. They ultimately moved to a second Tanzanian refugee camp – overall, they spent over 20 years in the camps. While in one camp, the father worked with the IRC as a teacher. Their children now range in age from 4 to 15, two boys and three girls, and a baby is expected in December. All but the 4-year old are enrolled in school.
We will also welcome an Afghan mother and her four children. After escaping the war and dangers of Afghanistan, they spent seven years in Turkey. The conditions in Turkey were very bad, and among other problems, the children could not go to school. Resettled in Arizona in late July, two of her daughters and a son, ages 11 to 16, are enrolled in school and her eldest daughter is looking for a job. They are happy to have some Afgan relatives being resettled nearby.