We’ll visit family who consist of a mother, age 33, and her son who is 15. They left the northern part of Myanmar in 2014. Her sister was in Malaysia and sent her money to pay someone to get her and her son across Thailand to Malaysia. They were stopped in Thailand and both put in jail for 4 years. She in an adult jail and her son who was 11 at the time in a children’s jail. They were contacted by the UN while in jail and helped to transfer to their new home in Arizona. The mom has a brother in another US state. A sister, brother in law and a daughter remain in Malaysia. Her son will soon start school. The mother told the WTAO visitors of the powdery dry paste all over her face. They call it Thanaka and it is made from ground wood and roots from regional trees. It is worn like makeup, gives a cooling sensation to skin and provides protection from sunburn. It is believed to help remove acne and promote smooth skin. It is also an antifungal, she said.
This family is originally from the Congo. The mother is 47 years old and has a seven year old daughter and three sons ages 19, 15 and 10. In the Congo the mother was a vendor of fish and beautiful African clothes. They left the Congo in 2012 and stayed in a refugee camp in Malawi. During their stay in the camp, the mother cleaned UNCR offices. They arrived in Arizona on February 13th. All the children will attend school with exception of the oldest. They have a neighbor refugee family that has been here for a while, has a car and helps them go get groceries. They knew each other in the refugee camp. They all understand some English and the oldest son speaks well.