May 29, 2011

The third family we visited was a large family originally from the Congo. They have five children, the oldest is 17 and the youngest is 2. This family is very friendly and shared their story freely. Fifteen years ago there was a militia armed attack and many people they knew were killed, including their oldest son. Their 17-year-old son was not killed because he was dressed in girl clothes and blended in with the crowd of women and children. The family escaped down the river on a boat. They faced a second war they also escaped from. They ended up in a Rwanda refugee camp where they spent 10 years. They said things were very hard there, for example there were hundreds of people lined up to use the bathrooms and to get water. They arrived in Arizona one month ago and are enjoying the peace. The 17-year-old son speaks some English and was helpful. The 2-year-old daughter loved all the attention she received and assisted in taking the family photos.

Eritrean FlagOur last visit was to an apartment where four men from Eritrea live. One of the men was home during our visit and speaks some English. He shared his story. He was born in Ethiopia. In 1997 conflict in Ethiopia began, so in 1999 he left with his family to Eritrea. There he was soon enlisted into the military services. He received 2 months of training (taught how to shoot) and was thrown into war. In 2007 he escaped and lived in a refugee camp in Ethiopia until he was able to come here. He says he enjoys the peace, freedom and being able to get an education in Arizona. He has some University education, is good at math and likes computers. He has a huge smile when he talks about being here. When we mentioned his beautiful smile, he said it is because he just went to the dentist and had his teeth cleaned.

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