This family is from Afghanistan, and they arrived in Arizona on February 29 with their four children, three daughters, ages 2, 3, and 14, and a son age 10. The father, age 35, worked for the American military for five years proving technical and computer support. He had previously worked for seven years in the census bureau of the Afghan government. He completed high school and went on for advanced training at institutes of higher learning in Afghanistan. He hopes to attend college in America, but noted that he must first work to support his family, and he is hopeful that he may be employed soon. Because the father worked for the military, the family’s lives were threatened and that is the reason they decided to leave Afghanistan. They have no family in America, and the father has only one friend in America but he does live in the family’s same complex. The couple has been married 16 years, and the husband is the only one in the family who speaks English. The wife is a homemaker and likes living in America. She wants to learn English and learn how to drive a car. Her husband was taking his driving test tomorrow and noted that he had been studying daily so he could pass it. The older daughter is in the 9th grade, and their son is in 4th grade. They are both learning English in school and making good progress.
This family is from Ethiopia but fled to Kenya in 2005 to avoid the husband being harmed in a revenge killing after the husband’s father was involved in an auto accident in which another person was killed. His father was arrested, and the family has not had any contact with him or the rest of their extended family since they left Ethiopia. The family arrived in Arizona in January with their four children, two daughters, ages 5 and 11, and two sons, ages 2 and 13. The husband, age 33, began working two weeks ago and was not at home during the visit. The wife, age 30, reports that he enjoys his job. She described life in the camp as “very hard” as her husband was not able to work, and the family was dependent on United Nations High Commission for their livelihood. The wife does not speak English but her husband does. The two older children are currently enjoying school and learning English. The family has no social support system here. When wife was asked how she felt about her new home, she said only that it is really different living here. When asked about her hopes for her family in America, she said that she wants to integrate the family into the American way of life.
This week we visited a family of eight from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In 2007 they fled to neighboring country Uganda due to political unrest and violence in their community. They resided in a camp for nine years in Uganda, and were finally resettled in the United States in early March 2016. The husband and wife have six children, four of whom are now enrolled in school. Back in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the father was a farmer and he is grateful for the opportunity for his children to get a formal education and learn to read and write, an opportunity he did not have when he was growing up. He stated that the language barrier has been one of the biggest challenges since coming to the United States, and he really wants to learn English.