Rihab and Mustafa

Today, I had the pleasure of meeting with Rihab and her family. Though both she and her husband Mustafa are from Sudan originally, they lived for several years working in United Arab Emirates.  Mustafa moved to U.A.E. first when he began working as a Bank Manager with the National Bank of Abu Dhabi. Rihab, on the other hand, worked as …

Yvon and Blanche

Yvon and Blanche fled their home in Central African Republic in 2013, trying to escape the civil war and political unrest in the country. Yvon, scared for the safety of his family, decided to move them all to a refugee camp in neighbouring country Chad. They lived there for the next 6 years, until they were resettled to Greensboro in …

An Anniversary Tale

Maricarmen arrived in the United States three years ago today. When she and her daughter landed in Miami, she thought they would just stay a couple weeks and then return to their home in Venezuela. Her husband had been detained by the military several weeks before, and Maricarmen hoped that taking her daughter away for a vacation would pass the …

The Sense of Belonging

When Ann appeared for her citizenship interview and exam before U.S. Immigration in early September, she knew she had to get it right. She was from the Bahamas and five days before taking her exams, Hurricane Dorian flattened the house where she had lived, leaving friends and family members dead or missing. “I had nothing to go back to. All …

Reunited After 8 Years…

          Nan Mon arrived in the United States as a Burmese refugee in 2011. At the time, she was a young, single mother of a four-year-old son and had spent most of her life in a refugee camp in Thailand. When she and her child were approved to resettle in the United States, she left her …

Father to see his child for the first time

          In 1996, Mutoni along with her parents and siblings fled the Democratic Republic of Congo. They settled in a refugee camp in Rwanda. Despite the harsh circumstances within the camp, Mutoni met and married a Congolese man named Innocent. Together they had their first child.           After living in the camp …

“See everything you’ve accomplished!”

When Jelena Milisav meets newly-arrived refugees with young children, her heart goes out to them. “I can’t feel their struggle, but I know my mom felt that.” Just over 20 years ago, Jelena and her family came to Greensboro as Bosnian refugees fleeing the wars that followed the break-up of the former Yugoslavia. At the time, Jelena was a toddler …

“Have some food!”

Recently, I found myself enjoying the hospitality of my co-workers. It was the Friday in between Christmas and New Years’, and the CWS office was quiet. I had eaten an early lunch, and by early afternoon, Doha and Ghaisha finally realized they were hungry too. They stepped downstairs to buy a couple of meals for themselves.       When …

“Don’t let them feel that they are strangers…”

On September 27, Yahya, Almaz, and their 8-year-old son stepped off a plane in Greensboro, North Carolina. For them, arriving in the United States was nothing short of a miracle. “Really, God saved us.” Yahya and Almaz were born in Ethiopia when the Derg, a communist regime, was still in power. Yahya’s family were farmers in Oromia. They grew coffee, …

“I was there…”

Ajuwa and Imani were born in Bukavu, the capital of the South Kivu province, in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo. Growing up, they had a happy life in the city: Ajuwa with his parents and four siblings and Imani with her parents and six siblings. “We were living good in Bukavu. There was work. We could go …