This week’s families all come from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The first family left the DRC in 1996 because of the fighting there. They fled to a refugee camp in Tanzania and were there from 1996 until this year, when they arrived in Phoenix in May. The father was in the camp from the time he was 14 years old. The parents met and married in the camp, where all of their children were later born. The father worked in the camp in sanitation, keeping it clean so diseases didn’t spread. The father’s parents are still in the camp, and he hopes to bring them here soon. The mother’s father died in January, and her mom is still in the DRC. The couple has 5 children, ages 13 (5thgrade), 8 (2ndgrade), 6 (1stgrade), 3½ and 1½. The kids started school in May and miss seeing their friends every day so they can’t wait to start back soon! The IRC is helping the dad get a job in a warehouse, which he will start next month, and their hope is for their children to pursue their educations. They want to meet many people and “not feel lonely.”
Our next family is two sisters and their families. The mom and her husband have two children, ages 3 ½ and 2, and her sister has two children, ages 3 and 1½. Her sister’s husband is still in the camp in Tanzania, where they fled in 1999 to escape the war. They also still have a brother in the DRC. They have been in Arizona for 2 months, after living in the camp for 20 years, since they were young children. They say it is good in Arizona, and they hope to find jobs and live a better life.
Our third family has also been in Phoenix for two months, and despite the heat, they love it here! The parents were in a refugee camp in Burundi for the past 14 years. They have a large family – the sons are ages 20, 15, 12, 10, 5, and 16 months and the daughters are 17 and 7 years old. They are eager to learn English. The oldest son graduated high school and wants to continue his education, but he will probably start working first. The father was an agriculture teacher, and his dream is to buy a house and provide stability for his family. They are currently in two apartments with the large size of their family, as well as a 22-year-old aunt also living with them.