February 6, 2010

Bhutanese FlagThe first family we visited was from Bhutan. For religious reasons they had been exiled to Nepal where they lived in camps for 17 years. The father was a farmer and worked in the villages in Nepal; he was paid by the villagers under the table. The children, three sons, 23, 19, and 17 and a daughter, 20 went to school in the camps run by Caritas Nepal. The oldest son came to Arizona 4 months ago and is already working in the Phoenix airport. He hopes to one day become the host of a radio talk show. The other children are studying English in the Alhambra school district prior to continuing their education. The youngest son wants to pursue an education in science and technology.

Ethiopian FlagThe second visit was to an Ethiopian gentleman who came to Phoenix from Cuba. In 1989 political problems in Ethiopia prompted him to leave his country and he was awarded a scholarship to study in Cuba. In 1996 he graduated from university with a degree in Industrial engineering, then worked for 10 years in construction related activities. He came to the United States after applying to the U.N. for refugee status. He has two brothers still in Cuba studying Economics and Accounting, and three sisters who have remained in Ethiopia.

Iraqi FlagThe third family was an Iraqi family: a father age 45, mother age 40, daughters ages 20,17,14,12 and a son age 7. They came to the U.S. via Egypt. The father was working with the U.S. Army in Iraq until their home was bombed. They fled to Egypt where they lived for 4 years. The father had previously worked in the technology field in a university, but was not allowed to work while they were in Egypt. Without an income, and forced to pay for the children’s school, they sought refugee status with the U.N. Despite the long, tedious trip to the United States, they are happy to be here and look forward to their 4 daughters and 1 son being able to receive an education. The father hopes to continue his career in technology.

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