October 6, 2012

The first family we will visit is a young and engaging couple came from Iraq. They arrived in Phoenix less than one month ago. The husband (30) and wife (27) have college degrees in English Literature. The wife taught high school English in Iraq. The husband worked for the United States Army in Iraq for six years. He also worked for a bank after the U.S. army left Iraq. In 2008 the husband applied for a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) due to his work with the U.S. Army. He was granted the visa in June 2012. They flew to Jordan prior to coming to the United States. From Jordan they came to Phoenix. Both husband and wife have family in Iraq. The wife likes to cook and garden. Their apartment is very sparsely furnished, yet they are happy and grateful to be in Phoenix. They are especially pleased with their second floor balcony which has a large tree growing next to it that provides color and shade. The wife would like plants for the balcony that she could grow and tend. The couple hopes to find work in Phoenix as soon as possible.

The second family we will visit is from Bhutan. This family of four consists of a father (52), mother (40), daughter (17) and son (13). The family arrived in Phoenix in August. The children are already attending school in Phoenix. The husband and wife were forced to leave Bhutan due to religious persecution. The mother lived in a refugee camp in Nepal for over 20 years. The children were born in the refugee camp. They did attend school in the camp, but life was difficult. The children love school in Arizona and they are making friends. The son is in middle school and the daughter is in high school. The mother is worried that her lack of education will make it hard for her to find work in Phoenix. She is interested in taking English classes.

The third family we will visit is a couple from Cuba consisting of a husband (58) and wife (52). They arrived in Arizona from Cuba in April. They had many troubles in Cuba which began when the wife’s family was targeted by the government when she was three years old. Her father was imprisoned and the rest of the family fled to another part of Cuba. In the 1980s some of the wife’s family left Cuba and went to Miami. She also has family living in New Jersey. Her sister and brother live in Phoenix, so they do have family support in the area. The wife has a serious medical issue. One challenge is that it is difficult to talk to medical professionals because of their lack of English skills. They also have problems due to their lack of medical resources on the weekends.


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