Our first family is from Somalia. This family of 7 has a father (64), mother (40), 3 sons (15, 7, 3) and 2 daughters (11, 9). All the children were in school when we visited except the youngest son. When the father was in Somalia, he and 5 other men from his town were kidnapped and tortured. In 1992 he and his wife and 2 children fled to Kenya. They had a total of 8 children, but 3 died while in the refugee camp. He described their time in the camp as the worst time. They have been in Phoenix since February. He feels frustration here because he does not know the language and has difficulty getting things he needs. They have an adult size bike that needs repairs.
Our second family is from Burundi. The father was born in Tanzania, but his parents returned to Burundi in 1992. He said there was much suffering and many people died there. He and his sister and a cousin were the only ones who survived and were able to make it to the refugee camp in Tanzania. He was 12 years old at the time. They lived in a little house of sticks and grass. It was very leaky when it rained. He met his wife in the camp. She is from the Congo. The wife is pregnant and is expecting a girl on October 17. The couple also has 2 sons (4, 7) and a daughter (19 mo.). They need at least one crib. The husband is very positive and ambitious. He told us that there is a proverb in his country that says: “When you are a stranger, your neighbors are your family.”
Our third family is from Burma. Consisting of a father (43), wife (35), five sons (2, 7, 8, 12, 15) and a daughter age 11. The family fled Burma to Thailand in 2005 due to the Burmese military troops fighting with the rebels. Their village was burned down and their rice crop was destroyed. While in the camp in Thailand they were only allowed to work sometimes. They earned $3.00 a day farming and used that money to supplement the small ration of food they were given. When asked what they thought of Phoenix they smiled and said they are happy here except that it’s too hot.