One family we will visit is also from Iraq. The mom (54) lives with her 3 grown daughters (ages 29, 27, 26). The eldest daughter has been in Phoenix for 16 months; the rest of the family arrived in December 2016 after waiting 7 years to be granted asylum. In Iraq, the 2 older daughters worked in a bank and the younger daughter was a physical fitness trainer. All three young women speak English and are employed; the mother is going to English classes. The family is happy to be here and all together. They especially like the weather in Phoenix which reminds them of home.
Another family we will visit is a young Rohingya mother (27) from Burma and her 2 young sons, ages 6 and 8. The family arrived in February. The Rohingya are a Muslim minority ethnic group in Burma. They are not legally allowed to work or attend schools. Often, the fathers, who face the most persecution, flee first and then are followed by their families. For this family, the father wound up in Malaysia, while the mother and the 2 boys fled to Indonesia. They have been separated since they fled. The older son is happy in school, but the younger son does not want to leave his mother. The mom is especially distressed that her husband remains in Malaysia and wants desperately to be reunited with him. In the meantime, she ahs found some other Rohingya families in her apartment complex that she has befriended.
We will also visit a family from Iraq. The Father (35), Mother (17), and son (1) arrived February 2017 in Phoenix. The family came directly from Iraq to Arizona. The husband’s father and sister from Iraq arrived in Phoenix in April. Extended family members also reside in Texas. Two sisters and two brothers are still in Iraq. Family members worked for the US Armed Forces in Iraq. After 2005 the family needed to flee due to safety. In 2013 the family was separated and applied for visas to come to the United States. They are very happy to be in Arizona and they are very appreciative for all of the help they are receiving. They are already friendly with other resettled families and they are looking forward to their new life in America.