Along the way, children were born and families grew. In February, two more families arrived; the youngest of the 32 is an infant.
Speaking through an interpreter, Innocent Hakizimana, also a Burundi native who shares a similar past to the refugees, Barangendana said one of the hardest aspects about adjusting to life here is learning to live in a house or apartment. They are used to living in tents, in a camp. One of the best things? The availability and variety of food.
Catholic Charities helped them get jobs, but they agree it is difficult to stretch their income to cover expenses. Here, Amoni Hakizimana works on a turkey farm; in Africa, he was a fisherman, said Barangendana.
Both Barangendana and Hakizimana said they still have children in Africa.
At Sojurn, they sing religious songs in Swahili before Sunday Service, Stevin Ngendakuriyo, who arrived in February with his family, has plans to start a choir. Communion is given by both Pastor Chris Misciagna and Barangendana. Each week, Barangendana introduces a new Swahili word or phrase to bridge the language gap.
This week, the phrase is Bwana asifiwe.
Praise the Lord.
Anyone wishing to donate goods or services to the refugees are encouraged to contact Jess Kaufmann, 437-4010.