October 20, 2012

Burmese FlagThe first family we will visit came from Burma. The couple did not know each other when they lived in Burma. Each left their country because of a civil war. Their village had been destroyed. The husband went to Thailand and lived in a refugee camp for fifteen years. The wife moved to Thailand and lived there for eighteen years. They met in Thailand. They were legally not allowed to work in Thailand.  However, the wife was able to find a job as a nurse’s assistant. Her salary started out at $20 per month and after five years was increased to $70 per month. Her father and sisters still live in Thailand. The husband’s immediate family now lives in Phoenix. The husband feels sad because does not speak English and is concerned that this will make it difficult for him to get a job. The wife is very happy in Phoenix because she can go wherever she wants. They have a very active and delightful two year old son.

Cuban FlagThe second family we will visit left Cuba four years ago because they felt they had no future in Cuba. The couple became engaged in Cuba. Their life has been one of courage and bravery. The wife went to Russia and then to Ecuador. Her husband left Cuba and went to Ecuador, where they reunited. Life was very difficult in Ecuador, where they lived for three years. They were not documented and were put in jail for several days. Their story was written up in a newspaper. The couple walked and hacked their way through the jungle for several days, at one point getting lost for days. They then made their way through Colombia, Panama Nicaragua, and Mexico. In Mexico they were incarcerated again for several days where they were treated very poorly. They arrived in Phoenix in July. They are a darling young couple who have dreams of a better life here. The wife is going to school to learn English, and the husband wants to be a butcher. They are very happy and full of smiles.

Somali FlagThe third family we will visit comes from Somalia. They left Somalia because of the civil war and they fled to Djibouti. Several of their children were born in Djibouti. They lived in tents in Djibouti where they had no running water, and were given rations of a very small amount of food. The mother fell three times while she was carrying wood and hurt her back badly. Most of the children learned to speak English in Djibouti. Two of their children had to stay in Djibouti. One of the children was seriously injured during the civil war. The family likes Phoenix and feels safe here. The father is legally blind. The mother is ready to go to work cleaning houses. One of the couple’s children is a daughter who lives in a separate apartment in the same complex. That daughter has three young children..


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