On Saturday, we will visit a family from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The mother and father fled with their young children. They are in the US with a daughter who was only 2 years old when they ran and another who was born in camp. The girls are now 23 and 18 years old; the family spent 21 years in a camp in Rwanda waiting for a place to call home. Their 2-year old granddaughter also lives with them. The family arrived at 3 different times, as they were all separated during the resettlement process. They came with one more family member who has since moved to Kentucky in search of work. Two more grown children remain in Rwanda. In the DRC, the father was an evangelist. He was able to continue preaching in Rwanda and, the day of our visit, he had his bible always close at hand. None of the children were able to attend school during their long stay in Rwanda. The family is happy to be here, in a home. They look forward to working and to having the youngest girl have a chance to go to school.
We will also meet a family from Afghanistan. The mother fled her home while pregnant, on her own, with a one-year old son. She ran to Turkey where she waited 9 years for a place to call home. While she waited, she gave birth to another son and later a daughter. The mom is thankful that her boys were able to attend school in Turkey. She says they are already speaking some English after being in an American school since only the beginning of the year. Her daughter, who is 4 years old and stays at home with her, is speaking English just from hearing her brothers talk about school every day. In Afghanistan and in Turkey, the mother was a seamstress. She was especially keen on the possibility of receiving a sewing machine from WTAP. She also said she would try to be brave and learn to ride a bike when she heard of WTAP’s partnership with Phantom Cyclist. She was thrilled for her children to have a computer as well. The mom said her family really likes America. There is no violence here; her boys love school; her daughter delights in visiting the park. She is so grateful for the safety of her family and the generosity of WTAP and all of the volunteers!
And we will meet a third family from DRC, a couple with 6 sons, ages 9 to 25. They arrived in August kf this year. We will learn more about this family, their journey and their dreams when we see them on Saturday.
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.
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.
This weekend, we will visit a family of 6 who has recently arrived to Phoenix from Pennsylvania, where they first arrived from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The mom, and her five children (ages 17, 15, 11, 7, 2, and 4 months) decided to move to Phoenix because they have family living here. The mom works for a hair product company, and the oldest daughter works at Whataburger. Four of the siblings are going to school in the Alhambra Elementary School District. The family is happy to be in Phoenix, where they are closer to the rest of their family.
We will also visit a family of 5 from Syria and a family of 11 from the Congo. We will welcome and learn more about these families on Saturday.
We will greet a family from both Iraq & Syria. The dad fled Iraq with his 9-year-old daughter and 6 year-old son. They settled in Jordan for 3 1/2 years, but because he was not Jordanian, it was difficult to find work. He met his new wife there, who fled from Syria, and together they were able to be granted asylum in the United Stages, first living in Nebraska for 4 years. Their son, now 4 years-old, was born there. They sold most of their possessions they had acquired in Nebraska to move to Phoenix, to a warmer climate more like home. They have now lived in Phoenix for about 3 months. The mom is now pregnant with another baby, due in October. The now 15-year-old daughter has learned English well, first being enrolled at the YMCA in Nebraska to learn. She will be entering high school in the fall, and dreams to be a surgeon someday. Her father is working in a meat packing plant, and her mother works in the stockroom at Walmart. Mom wants her children to be educated here and take advantage of all the opportunities available here in America.
We will also greet a single woman who after witnessing the killing of her father, escaped the Democratic Republic of Congo with her mother, 5 sisters and 2 brothers in 2004 and landed in Uganda. She lived there with her family for 15 years, working as a manager at a casino. In 2012, they all began the process of seeking asylum in the United States. Only this 32-year-old woman was granted asylum. The rest of her family continues to pursue joining her in America. She has only been here 2 months, has completed the training as a caregiver, and is hoping to find a job very soon. She would like to continue her education at some point.
And we will meet a single mother with 8 children who fled the Democratic Republic of Congo many years ago and has been in refugee camp in Tanzania. Most of her children were born in camp. The family arrived to Phoenix only a few weeks ago. The children look forward to the start of school.
We will meet three families from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
One family includes of mom, 2 sons (age 16 & 18) and 1 daughter (age 22). They arrived in AZ in June of 2018 but over to Idaho, then moved to Pittsburgh and now Phoenix. They are happy to be where it is warmer and no snow! The mother left her village in 1998 due to war and many killings in her area. She fled to many different places in the Congo until she finally made it to Burundi and had been in a refugee camp since 2002. The youngest son was born in the camp. When mom lived in the Congo and in the refugee camp she worked as a teacher for International Rescue Committee and spoke to women and children about domestic violence. Mom has a heart condition now that makes it difficult to work. The children attend school and are hoping to get a job very soon.
We will also be visiting a family of 4 (soon to be 6) from the Democratic Republic of Congo. This family consists of a father, mother, son (age 3), and daughter (age 2). They recently found out that the mother is pregnant with twins, and they are expected to be born in May of 2019. This family arrived in Phoenix on June 12th of this year. The father left the DRC to Kenya, where he lived in a refugee camp for 8 years. The mother also left the DRC to Kenya, where she lived in a refugee camp for 9 years. They met each other in Kenya, and both of their children were born in the camp. In Kenya, the father owned a small business within the camp. Currently, the father is employed at Papa John’s here in Phoenix. The mother also found a job, and is working at a hotel. Although the two young kids are not in school yet, their parents hope that they become successful though their education in America, and hope for the whole family to learn English. They are also excited, and trying to prepare for the twins in the upcoming year.
And we will visit a third family from DRC that includes four children ages 1 through 7.
We will visit a family from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The mother and father, both farmers, fled the violence and destruction in their country 16 years ago. They left with three small children and ran to Tanzania. In Tanzania, the children were able to go to the camp school. The family tried to make a life while they waited for asylum. Three more children were born while they waited. The mother, father and 5 of their children arrived here in Phoenix at the end of August. Refugees are only allowed to bring one bag per person and the family was told not to bring clothes, so they arrived with the clothes on their backs. Their caseworker has been kind enough to share some of his family’s clothes with them. WTAP will also be helping them get ready for the upcoming change of seasons. The mother’s greatest sorrow is that their oldest child was not able to come with them. She said that she, her husband and the children are so glad to be in Phoenix, but she said she cannot be completely happy until she is with all her children.
We will also visit two families whose children attend school in Washington Elementary School District, a WTAP partner organization. We will meet a family from Sudan who has been here for almost three years. Two of their children were born in the United States. The father works to support the family and the oldest child is an especially good student.
And we will meet a mother from DRC and her four children. The mother works in at food processing plant. Her oldest daughter is currently looking for work. The other three children (two boys and a girl) are in school and doing quite well. Through our partner, PCs for Refugees, we will bring a computer to help with their learning. We will learn more about the families during our visit.
We will visit 2 families from the Democratic Republic of Congo, whose children go to school at the Valencia Newcomer School , a WTAP partner organization. The first family includes a man, his four children and his mother. His wife died in refugee camp. The family arrived to Phoenix just a few months ago after spending most of their life in a Tanzania refugee camp. The man fled DRC with his family as a young child. He met his wife and began a family in camp. All of his children were born in camp. After 20 years, he and his mother have their first real home. The children are adjusting well to school. The man is employed in food processing.
The other family includes a husband, wife and their six children. All of the children were born into refugee camp. The husband and wife fled the dangers of war in DRC almost 20 years ago. The met and married in camp and began to raise a family. We will learn more about this family when we meet them on Saturday.
We will also visit a family from Afghanistan. The father worked with the US Armed Forces for 7 years. When his family began to receive threats and he was unable to secure a Special Immigration Visa from the USA, he fled with his pregnant wife and their toddler. They stayed in Pakistan for 4 years awaiting a grant of asylum. Their journey to Phoenix has been very difficult. The father says he hopes people know how hard it is to run away from home, to leave behind your family and friends, to give up all control over your life, your family, your future, just so you can be safe. He described the many, many interviews the family endured in the asylum process. In 2017, this family was accepted for resettlement in the USA. But his wife had just discovered she was pregnant and they were told they could not leave until the baby underwent a medical exam. Their anxiety was compounded as a new administration took office in the US and changed the criteria for accepting refugees. They had to wait 12 more months before finally coming to the States. Initially, the family was settled in Detroit. Unfortunately, their apartment was infested with bugs and they did not feel secure in their neighborhood. After a couple of months, they were transferred to Phoenix. Since all of their resettlement funds had been used up in Detroit, the family arrived with next to nothing. So far, they really like Phoenix. Their caseworker, a former WTAP client, is also from Afghanistan and has been helping them settle in their new apartment. They were very happy for the WTAP initial visit and are looking forward to meeting the welcome volunteers!
We will meet a family from Ethiopia. The mother in this family (currently 19 years old) left Ethiopia with a friend when she was 14 years old. She arrived in Nairobi and lived in a home for single women for five years before being relocated and settled here. She arrived on Valentine’s day with her 5 year old daughter. The mother understands some English and will enroll in English classes. She likes vases with flowers in them. The daughter is she counts to ten, knows her ABC’s and is very eager to learn. They have met another family who lives near by and is helping them get to the store and adjust to their life here.
We will meet a woman originally from Pakistan. She taught English and Social Studies to children in first and second grade. She is Christian and taught mostly Muslim children, because of the religious difference her life was threatened so she left for Sri Lanka. She lived there three years before being relocated here. She has brothers and sisters who live in Pakistan. She has a master’s degree in education and applied for a substitute teaching certificate. She is eager to find a job as a teacher’s assistant so she can learn the school system, then work her way to teaching. She has computer skills and is looking forward to having a computer and musical keyboard to help with her teaching. Her favorite colors are green and blue.
We will meet two men who were placed together as roommates. They are 51 and 53 years old and both from Pakistan. Back in Pakistan they both have wives and children with whom they hope to reunite.. The 53 year old man has not hugged his family for 5 years since he left Pakistan. He was detained while trying to get to Australia and sent to the island of Nauru. He explained conditions were extremely hard there: 20-25 men per tent, hot and humid weather, no trees for shelter, limited drinking water and expired food. Because they also have limited medical care on the island, he was sent to Australia for care and was arrested in the middle of the night and sent back to Nauru without medical care. In Pakistan, he owned his own auto repair shop for 28 years. He is eager to get back on his feet, buy needed tools and eventually open his own auto repair and body shop. He speaks English well.