We will meet a family from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The mother fled with one of her children in 2005. She remained internally displaced in the DRC before meeting up with her other children (now ages 26, 22, 21, 18). Then they fled again together to Rwanda. They were in Rwanda for over a decade waiting for asylum. The family arrived in Phoenix in August. The mother said the heat did not bother them, as it is similar to what they experienced in camp in Rwanda. When they family came, one son, a twin, got held back due to a paperwork problem. The mother misses her son terribly, as does his twin brother. They are all hoping he follows them soon. Two of the sons are working to support the family. The mother uses a wheelchair and so is confined to their home. One of the mother’s adult daughters has a little girl (3) who is full of fun and wonder; she can’t wait to get some paper and crayons of her own and was practicing her drawing on our volunteers’ notepads.
We will meet another family from the DRC. The mother (41) is here with her 5 children (ages 2, 8, 10, 13, 14). The mother’s sister lives with the family as well. Sadly, the father of the family has been detained in Rwanda, where the family fled to in 1996. They said his paperwork is processing and they hope he will join them soon. The family arrived in Phoenix in August. Besides the father who is waiting to come from Rwanda, this family also has relatives in Canada. The older children are all in school and doing well, and the mother’s sister watches the youngest child while mom works at Papa Johns. The sister is anxious to learn English.
A third family from the DRC rounds out this weekend’s visits. The father fled the DRC in 1997 when he was a young man. He met his wife, who also fled the DRC, in a refugee camp in Tanzania. They married and had their 5 children while awaiting asylum, all of whom wre born in camp. The mother and father fled their homeland while they were in school; they were never able to finish. Their children, though, did attend school in the refugee camp. The older children (ages 16, 13 and 10) are in school and happy; the younger children (ages 4 and 1) are at home with mom and really enjoyed the volunteer visitors. The father’s grandmother loves here in Phoenix. Mom has a sister in Kentucky. The family is happy to be here altogether and safe.