The first woman we will visit is from Cuba. She came to Arizona in July with her cousin. She left the rest of her family in Cuba. In her home county she worked as a phlebotomist. She enjoyed her work tremendously. She is already certified to work in the United States as a phlebotomist, but she needs to improve her English language skills before she will be able to find employment. In the interim she is working as a cashier. She is happy to be in the United States, and glad that her cousin is with her. She misses her family, and hopes they can come here soon too.
Another family we will visit is a young Afghan couple who arrived in Arizona on November 20, 2015. They were married only two months ago. The husband worked as a combat linguist for an American unit for three years, until his services were no longer needed because of the U.S troop drawdown. He went into combat situations with his unit and often worked in dangerous situations. He received death threats by phone because of his involvement with the Americans, which forced him to leave his country. He also left because of the lack of employment and educational opportunities in Afghanistan. His parents, five brothers and five sisters remain in his country. His visa was issued almost a year ago but he waited ten additional months for his wife’s visa to be processed. She had completed high school and had a few months left to complete her teaching degree when they left their country. She is the youngest of three daughters and left her siblings and her parents in Afghanistan. The wife’s relationship with her mother was very close, so her separation from her family has been very stressful and she feels rather isolated in Arizona. However, she is looking forward to a bright future in the Unitd States: she will be enrolled in ESL classes and hopes to go to college to become a teacher. Her husband is currently applying for jobs. He also hopes that his wife will be able to complete her degree; and that he will also be able to attend the university here. He graduated from high school and learned English in the private schools he attended. The husband has two friends in the area who offer some social support for the couple.
The third family we will visit is a family of nine from the Congo. The father is forty-four years old and the wife is forty-one years old. There are seven children: three sons (ages 19, 15 and 13) and four daughters (ages 24, 10, 8 and 5). The eight year old daughter has Down syndrome. The family fled the Congo due to the Civil War, fleeing to Rwanda then to Kenya. The family arrived in Phoenix on two different days, in October and November of 2015. In their county the father was a pastor and the wife helped with church duties. The school aged children will attend school after they receive their immunizations. The father would like to become a pastor in the United States. He enjoys music and plays the guitar and piano. The family is very glad to be in Phoenix where they are confident they will have a better life.
A fourth family we will visit is a family of six from Burma. The father is forty-three years old and the wife is forty-six years old. They have four children: two sons (ages 17 and 15) and two daughters (ages 19 and 10). The family fled Burma due to discrimination which affected their quality of life. They were surviving on a small amount of money that the government gave them. They fled from Burma to Malaysia because they felt that they could survive by blending in with the local community in Malaysia. The father worked in construction and the mother worked part time cleaning homes. The children were not allowed to attend school when they lived in Burma, but they did attend school in Malaysia. Because of their lack of access to education, the nineteen year old daughter is in the 8th grade, the seventeen year old son is in the 7th grade, the fifteen year old son is in the 4th grade and the ten year old daughter is in the 1st grade. The husband has found a job, and he will start work in a week. The family is happy to be in the United States! They all feel that this will be a golden opportunity for the family and a great educational opportunity for the children.