Afaf lives at The Springs Apartment with her husband Mohammed and three children, Elmahdi (9), Ahmed (7), and Ameera (1.5).
Originally from Morocco, Afaf practiced law until she moved to the US to be with Mohammed in 2006. Although she had studied the English language back home, it was difficult to adjust to life in America. None of her credentials as a lawyer transferred to the US, so she found a job working in a doctor’s office. “Emigrating to the US was hard, and I still miss my family and friends,” Afaf says, “the hardest adjustment of all was learning the culture.”
Afaf and Mohammed’s first son Elmahdi was born with brittle bone disease. Because his bones are weak and prone to fracture, he uses a wheelchair. Afaf left her job at the doctor’s office in order to care for Elmahdi full-time, which meant that they only had one income to support their family. Before moving into an APAH apartment, the family lived in a multi-story apartment building in Alexandria. It was not handicap accessible. Not only was Elmahdi in his wheelchair, but Ahmed was just a toddler. “Getting both boys up the stairs to our apartment was quite a challenge.”
Once they learned about Arlington Mill Residences and were able to move into an accessible 2-bedroom apartment with an elevator, “it changed our lives.” Afaf says, “Being in a newly constructed and affordable building, with elevator access, made life with our two young boys so much easier.” Her family lived at Arlington Mill Residences for two years, and were thankful for the on-site resident services programming.
After Ameera was born, Afaf and her family moved into a three-bedroom apartment at The Springs. They take full advantage of the resident services programming, including the Read-aloud program for her children or computer classes for her. And, when her mother was visiting from Morocco recently, she took her to participate in a Zumba exercise class.
The boys now attend Barrett Elementary School. Elmahdi is in the fourth grade. She says, “His favorite subject is science, and he wants to be an engineer or an astronaut when he grows up. Ahmed enjoys math the most. As a second grader, he wants to be a fireman when he grows up.”