Take just a moment and try to recall when you were 12 years old. For some this may require a longer trip back in time than for others, but if you’re like me – white, middle-class – you were likely attending 6th or 7th grade, maybe in 4-H, Girl Scouts or playing on a Little League team.
Now, imagine your home, your community, the only place you’ve ever known, has been overrun by outside forces. In order to survive, you and your mom have to pack up your belongings and escape in the dark of night on a journey with an unknown destination.
Outside Welcome Housing: Home at Last ~ Augustin, and his family spanning three generations.
This is Augustin’s story and the story of so many of our global neighbors displaced by war, drought, floods or civil unrest, finding themselves in limbo with no place to call home.
Ultimately, Augustin and his mother arrived at Nyarugusu refugee camp, one of the largest and best-known refugee camps of the 21st century, home to around 150,000 refugees.
The camp was created by the UNHCR and the Tanzanian government in 1996 after an estimated 150,000 Congolese refugees from the eastern Sud-Kivu region (near Augustin’s home) of the DRC crossed the border into Tanzania escaping civil war. Many Congolese refugees have remained in the camp for decades.
Augustine and his mom lived at Nyarugusu for 20 years. Augustin met and married Kashindi. They began a family together in 2012 and in July of 2019, their four beautiful children and both of their mothers, finally arrived in the United States.
The resettling families we support are invited guests of the United States. We view our role as an important part of our national tradition of welcoming asylum seekers. Having been thoroughly vetted before landing on American shores — their long wait finally over — we do our best to welcome them to our community. By and large, our guests were either born, grew up, or spent the better part of their life in a refugee camp. Their arrival at one of our Welcome House marks the end of a long arduous journey ... and the start of a new life at long last.
The overall objective of our Welcome Housing program is to aid, advance and assist the inclusion and integration of our guests to our community. Everything we do is aimed at inclusion and accommodation in an effort to ease the process of becoming acquainted with their new hometown.
Stability is the key to success for these newcomers. One key to this is the important work we do upon their arrival. If a family or individual feels welcome, they will make this difficult transition with greater ease and more motivation to dive into the stream of life and more quickly embrace their new community.
Yet what are we? We breathe, we love, we create: Too soon our little orbits change and fall: We are Fate's children, very tired; and all are homeless strangers, craving rest and peace- And the days go by.
- Henry Abbey
These orbits of great challenge and change have called for us to be nimble, dynamic and flexible. Please consider making a monthly gift of $100, $50, $25 of $20 to help us meet our goal.