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.
This weekend we will visit a family from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The family came to the US in September 2016, arriving first in San Diego. This past June they relocated to Phoenix after not being able to find adequate work in San Diego as well as the cost of living being too high. The husband and wife have two daughters (4 and 6 years), a son (1-1/2 years), and they are expecting a child in November. Their refugee story began in the DRC and due to constant civil unrest and wars the husband’s family fled to live in a refugee camp in Uganda when he was just 9 years old. He lived in the camp for 22 years. He met his wife in the refugee camp and they were married. The two daughters were also born in the camp. They did not work very much in the camp but did farm a bit to be able to provide some food for the family. They have one family member who remains in the camp and is working on the paperwork necessary to leave the camp and be relocated. The also have a variety of family who live in the US but they have not been able to see any of them due to the cost but they do talk regularly, which makes them very happy. The family has very good English skills. The father has a job at a laundry that he is very grateful for, and the 6-year old daughter is very excited to start school.
We will also visit another family from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The husband and wife fled the Congo because of Civil War, fleeing to a refugee camp in Uganda where they stayed for five months, then to another camp in Uganda where the stayed for 20 years. Life in the refugee camp was very dangerous and living conditions where very unhealthy. They arrived in the United States in September 2018 and have three young children. Two of the children where born in the refugee camp and one was born in the United States. The husband is currently working in a meat processing plant and the wife would like to work and go to school. The father of the wife also lives in the United States and is the only other family member in the country. The mother is also trying to join the family as well in the US. They are very happy to have a secure life in the US and their children will be able to receive a great education in America.
This weekend we will visit a family originally from Eritrea. The mother left Eritrea and went to Ethiopia where she lived for 6 years in a refugee camp with her young daughters. While in the camp, they were given 15 kilos of wheat per person per month. The mother would trade with other refugees for supplies to supplement their diet of wheat. She applied to come to the United States, and they arrived in October 2018. Since they arrived, the mother found employment but had to leave because of medical issues which she is trying to resolve. Her two daughters, ages 8 and 9 years, attend school, are learning English and are very happy at their school. The mother is so proud of them, loves sharing photos of them, and is so happy to be here.
We will also visit a family of seven, originally from the Dominican Republic of Congo. The family includes a mother, three daughters, two sons, and a granddaughter. Due to the ongoing conflict in the country, they fled to Rwanda where they lived for ten years in a refugee camp. The children all attended school while living there. They arrived in the US just three months ago, and thhe children, now all in their 20’s, are working at Marshalls. They would like to further their education as they are able to save money.
And we will meet a third family that includes a single mother and her two daughters, age 26 and 17, from Democratic Republic of Congo.
This weekend, we will visit a family from Eritrea. The mother and her two daughters, ages 6 and 8, arrived to Arizona in April 2019. The family fled from their country in May 2014 because of the lack of freedom and human rights. The mother settled the family in Ethiopia where she worked as a cleaner. Her two daughters are currently attending school in Phoenix and are enjoying the experience. The mother has medical issues which are being treated, and she hopes to be able to work in the near future. Her goal is to be able to work, pay her bills and provide for her children. She is learning English from her children and would like to attend school in the future to improve her language skills.
We will also visit a family from Pakistan. The mother and her two sons, ages 16 and 14, arrived in Arizona in June 2019 after fleeing their country in 2012 because of threats to their lives. They settled in Kuala Lumpur and the three of them lived in one room. The mother supported her family through working in a variety of jobs in food services and in factories. The sons attended school in Malaysia where they studied English and are fluent in the language. The mother was diagnosed with a serious illness a couple of years ago and was granted entry into the US with her sons so that she could receive medical treatment. She is pleased with her care here and is hopeful that she will be able to recover and work again. Her children really enjoy school and are very sports oriented. They both love soccer, and the older son would like to become a professional soccer player. The mother also speaks English, which she learned through her work in Malaysia but she would like to study the language more to improve her skills. Her dream is to be able to give back to others as she is so grateful for all the help she received in the last two years when she was unable to work.
We will also visit a family from Myanmar who consist of a husband, wife, three daughters (9, 6, 2 months) and son (8). They arrived in April of 2019 and the children have begun US school.
We will meet a young family from Burma (Myanmar) this weekend. The father and mother are Rohingya, one of the most persecuted ethnic minorities in the world. The father said he worked across the order in Bangladesh for some time. When it became too dangerous to go back and forth between Burma and Bangladesh because of the violence in Burma, he ran to Malaysia and sent for his wife. While they were waiting for asylum for 7 years in Malaysia, they had a little girl and a little boy. They are now pregnant with their third child. The family was first resettled in Utah. They arrived in Phoenix in May 2019. Since they could only afford to come from Utah with their car, they were not able to bring many of their belongings; they are setting up a new home from scratch, again. The father already has a job and has learned English quite well since they arrived in the USA. The older daughter is in school. Mom is at home with their toddler son and is looking forward to the new baby.
We will also visit a single gentleman from Iraq. He has been in Phoenix for almost 5 years, but he recently lost his apartment when the rent was dramatically increased and then had a heart attack and wound up in the hospital for a little while. He is back on his feet and in a new place, which WTAP will help to make a home. In Iraq, our client was a lawyer. He is studying now to try to improve his English (which he speaks quite well already) so as to take the bar exam here and one day be able to practice law again. He also assisted the US Armed Forces while in Iraq, and so was forced to flee his country to insure his safety. Our client is working as a cashier at the moment and is happy to be on the mend after his recent health issues. He has family in Texas and California, whom he recently visited. He mentioned that the best part about America is the people. He is looking forward to our volunteers coming to visit.
We will visit another family from Iraq: a mother and her two grown sons. In Iraq, the mother taught 4th grade and both of the sons were in school. The older son said that life in Iraq was very, very difficult – no safety, no security, no prospects, no hope. They are all very grateful to be here building a new life. The sons both speak English very well and their mother is learning. The boys have jobs and hope to have more education and eventually better jobs. They also have family here in the Valley who have been able to help them in their transition. The sons are especially excited to meet some Americans about their age during the upcoming WTAP welcome. They have a Monopoly game that they are hoping someone can help them learn how to play!
This weekend, we will visit two families from Eritrea, where civil war and persecution have been a constant in their lives. The first family includes a mother, her brother and her three children (ages 11, 10 and 8). The next is a family of four, including the father, mother and two children (ages 4 and 1). Both families arrived within the last few months and we will learn more about them and their journeys this weekend.