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Somali refugees in Cumberland Co. reunited with daughters after 7 years

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. -- Two days earlier, Muzamil and Mizki Mohamed arrived on United States soil for the first time. This morning, the sisters woke up at their new Cumberland County townhouse to another new sight: snow.

Muzamil, 14, and Mizki, 11, came to the United States from a refugee camp in Kenya, just across the Somali. This week, after seven years separated, the two sisters were reunited with their mother.

"I was very afraid that I may not see my mom forever," Mizki said.

Halima Mohamed and her husband, Ismail Abdile, came to America as refugees in 2010. After fleeing Somali, the two lived with Muzamil and Mizki in the refugee camp before coming to the United States. However, Halima was unable to take her two daughters with her. Her first husband, also the father of the two sisters, did not allow Muzamil and Mizki to immigrate with Halima and Ismail.

"It was very frustrating," Halima said. "I would worry what's happening to them. I passed a lot of difficulties (sic)."

Everything changed when their father died in 2012, beginning a five year process where Halima petitioned to get her children to come to America. They were approved in July 2016, and on Wednesday, they boarded a plane for New York City's JFK Airport.

After seven years, Halima and Ismail were reunited with their daughters.

"I cried happiness," Halima said. "I used to be happy when I saw them on video calls on the phone. But that day was so special when I saw them for the first time."

Halima says she was prepared to fly back to the refugee camp in Kenya to be with her two daughters. Instead, the family is full in the United States for the first time.

Muzamil and Mizki even have two younger siblings -- a brother Abdiweli, 5, and sister Zeinab, 3 -- who were both born in the United States.

They live in a townhouse apartment in Mechanicsburg, with many other refugee neighbors, they say. One of their neighbors, Omar Mohamed, no relation, immigrated to the United States from Kenya more than 15 years ago. He helps the family learn English, and is helping the girls transition to American life.

"Everything is new, she's never seen this," Omar says opening up the dishwasher in the kitchen.

"This, you wash dishes," he says to Muzamil. "I was asking her if she can turn on and off the water. This is the first time they saw this."

With Halima's seven year challenge in getting her children to come to the United States over, the family's next challenge isn't too different from most their age: going to school. Halima wants to enroll Muzamil and Mizki in the Mechanicsburg Area School District.