March 19, 2011

Iranian FlagThe first person we visited was a 31-year-old man form Iran. He left Iran because of “political problems with the government.” He explained that his student identification card had a hole punched in it and he was no longer able to attend university in Iran. He left Iran and lived in Turkey for 3 years. He arrived here 10 months ago and was placed with a roommate. He just recently moved into his own apartment and is expecting his wife to come from Turkey to join him soon. He has a job making bread, plays guitar, and takes English and music classes at a nearby college.

Bhutanese FlagThe second visit was to a large family originally from Bhutan. This family farmed in Bhutan and was evicted because of the language they spoke. They fled to Nepal where they lived in a refugee camp for 18 years. A friend of the family explained that in the refugee camp, families are given a small piece of land (approximately 18 by 14 feet) to live. They build their own house out of bamboo and other available objects. If there is some space left they plant food crops to supplement the food given to them in the camp. This family has been here for two years and is able to communicate well in English. In the apartment we visited live the father, mother, three sons ages 29, 26 and 24 and the wife of the oldest son. Another son lives in an apartment down stairs with his wife, 3-year-old son and in-laws. Two of the sons have jobs to support the family.

Iraqi FlagThe last family is from Iraq. Living in the apartment we visited are the father, mother and a 21-year-old son. They have an older son living in a separate apartment with his wife. They also have two daughters still living in Iraq. The mother and father were teachers in Iraq. This family has been here 4 months. The father speaks English well and has been looking for work. The son has a job in a hotel. The mother was taken to a dentist and had 19 teeth extracted in one day. Her mouth is very swollen and she has not been able to eat much. The day we visited, the family was very frustrated, emotional, and worried about the mother’s health. They were grateful for the assistance we will give and the time we spent with them.

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