“I was born in the Congolese city of Kinshasa. I grew up there until I was 11 years old. When my dad received a promotion, we moved to the east of Congo and I finished high school in a city called Decoma.
I was finishing my degree in computer programming when I got a job with the Red Cross to help abused women and children. I advocated for their rights through the media. Consequently, the people who speak for right things will always be in danger in my country. Several times, as I drove home at night, after finishing work for the day, I was beaten up. I never knew when it would happen. The last time they beat me up they said, “This time we are giving you the chance to live, but next time we will not.”
After I received a series of threats, I left my hometown and ran until I got to a refugee camp in Uganda. I had left my job, my family, and it was difficult to begin a new life. I went from a good life to nothing.
When I arrived at the camp, I went to the police to tell them that I was a refugee. I didn’t have any personal documents so I was asked many questions, fingerprinted, and had to wait to be approved before I could receive any food.
When I was finally approved, I was given a ticket that allowed me to receive food, take the bus, and be assigned an apartment through the UNHCR.
Life is not easy as a refugee in Uganda. It’s like being in a prison. The water was unclean. The camp was unsafe. People were dying because they could not access medicine or healthcare. Many women were raped.
For me it was not easy. As a refugee you sleep and wake up and you live a life that you have not lived before."
"One day, I went to see some of the authorities. They told me that because I had finished school and spoke English, they would give me a job. After I began working, I started feeling a little better about my life. I worked as a repair technician. I hadn’t been trained to be a technician, but I figured it out on the job. After that they gave me a job as a social worker. I then worked as an interpreter for two years.
Two months after I arrived in Uganda, my brother and sister showed up in the camp. I was so surprised. It was a total coincidence that they found me. They left home because life was too dangerous. They told me that my father and older brother had been killed. They didn’t know where our mother was. My sister told me that she had been raped right before they fled to the camp and she soon found out that she was pregnant.
After three years together in the camp, my sister received a phone call that we would be sent to America. I have to say I never wanted to come to America, but I told her that I would go for her because I wanted her to be happy.
I want to go back to the Congo to be the president or in a political position, but I need to finish my master’s degree first.
If I could give advice to people still in the refugee camp, I would tell them not to lose hope. Most of the people in the refugee camp live on hope. No matter what people do to put refugees down, you must continue to live. You can have a new life!”
Refugee Camp: Nakivale Camp, Uganda
Current Location: United States
Family: sister and brother
Occupation: case manager for refugees