Family Bios: November 2, 2019

On Saturday afternoon, we will meet a young woman from Afghanistan. She fled her homeland, a country that has endured ongoing violence for generations, for Pakistan when she was 7 years old. She left with her family including her mother, father and two brothers. In Pakistan, she was able to take English classes and also learned another five languages, including Dari and Farsi.  In 2016, after both of her parents had died, she and her brothers moved again to Turkey. She worked in restaurants, cleaning hotels and doing seamstress work as she awaited asylum. She arrived in the US in August of this year but both of her brothers have been resettled in Switzerland.  She is currently looking for a job and hopes to be able to also go back to school to study fashion and marketing.  She is enjoying Phoenix and has already made some friends here.

We will also meet a family from Liberia. The father fled the civil war in Liberia with his family in 1996. He said his family had been persecuted; his parents were killed and he himself was shot two times during ongoing conflicts. Because it was unsafe to flee in large groups, he and his siblings split up on their journeys to safety.  He went to the Ivory Coast, his sister went to Guinea and his brother went to Senegal. He has not been in touch with his siblings and doesn’t know if they are safe.  His daughter was born in the Ivory Coast, where she was able to attend school. She was taught in French, the primary language of Ivory Coast/Cote d’Ivoire, but his daughter was also able to learn some English. He was an elementary school teacher in Ivory Coast and also helped with repatriation classes at the UNHRC camp.  The family arrived in Phoenix in July 2019. The daughter is enrolled in school and really enjoys it; she is already making friends and improving her English. The father is currently looking for work. He has a friend here, another refugee who arrived two years ago, who is a support. The father says that Phoenix is beautiful and hot, and that it is a very kind place.