One of the families we will visit is from Iraq. This family consists of the father (72), mother (63), son (28) and daughter (24). The family arrived in Phoenix mid-December. They have three sons and one daughter who are also in the United States. This is a family of four adults who live in a one bedroom apartment which makes their sleeping arrangements difficult. The father is confined to a wheelchair and sleeps in a chair in the living room. He is expected to have surgery soon and eventually will be able walk. The son speaks fluent English. The rest of the family understands and speaks some English. The father worked for the Iraqi government as a civilian. He was forced out in 2006 due to his age. The four brothers worked for the U.S. army in Iraq which provided an income for the family. They drove a convoy from city to city. It was “dangerous work” said the son. The Iraqi government forced them to quit their jobs with the U.S. Army. However, in 2006 they went to work for a private sector security company which had a contract with the U.S. Army. They worked with this company until they came to the United States. The father said that medical care in Iraq was not good. The family members talk about the lack of safety in Iraq. They all are grateful and happy to be in the United States and especially in Phoenix. The other brothers all live in cold climates! Family members are learning English with a volunteer who comes to their apartment. They look forward to becoming fluent, finding jobs and making friends in their new community.
Another family we will visit this week arrived in Phoenix from Iraq in December 2012. The family consists of the father (57), mother (49) son (26) and daughter (19). The affable members of this family clearly like each other and other people. They are very sociable and hospitable. Their apartment is moderately furnished and well-kept. The father was a career soldier until he was injured. The son was a professional cook. The daughter was in high school. The family fled to Turkey in 2011 after terrorists threatened the younger son because he was teaching at a Christian church. Although the daughter’s school was only a few minute’s walk from their home, she had to be driven to school, because of concerns for her safety. They leave behind many family members in Iraq whom they hope will be able to join them here someday.
The final family we will visit this week is also from Iraq. In fact, the father (31) is the older son of family discussed in the previous paragraph. His wife (24) and sweet infant daughter (seven months) live with him in a one bedroom apartment in the same complex as the rest of the family. The couple’s furniture is in decent shape. They are a lovely young couple with high hopes for success in their new community. The mother was the director of a radio station in Iraq. The father worked for the Ministry of Electricity. They feel fortunate to be in the United States and to be close to their family for support.