The family that helped the U.S. reach the 10,000 mark for Syrian refugees just settled in San Diego this past week.
Nadim Fawzi Jouriyeh, his wife, and his four children moved to El Cajon—just outside San Diego—this week. El Cajon is a community that has accepted Iraqi refugees, and more recently, Syrian refugees fleeing the war.
The goal to resettle 10,000 refugees a year was reached over a month ahead of time. Most of the refugees have been resettled to either California or Michigan. El Cajon, now an established refugee community, is home to many Arabic-speakers and now even some of the street signs are in Arabic.
For Jouriyeh and his family, the transition to America life fills the days with chores such as grocery shopping, setting up bank accounts, and getting new phones.
In 2014, the family left Syria for Jordan. This trip, which would take about 2 hours normally, took 3 days in order to successfully avoid arrest or injury. Jouriyeh said 80 people in his convoy were killed.
Despite the uncertain life of a refugee, Jouriyeh has only good words to share of his experience in America.
“The way they treat people and the people of America are very nice … When you go down the streets, everyone smiles at you. Even if they don’t know you, they just smile at you,” Jouriyeh said.
Jouriyeh didn’t say whether his family would ever go back to Syria, but right now his goals are to find a job, housing for his family, and to get his children enrolled in school: “We hope our children succeed in education and be able to have a good future here,” he said.