Blessing and Kim's Journey
Blessing, a refugee from Congo, and Kim, a volunteer living in Wichita, Kansas, explain how their meeting and friendship transformed both of their lives (additional footage than what is included in the full documentary film):
What did you think of pizza when you had it for the first time? It was really good. Asparagus, they look like little trees? Yes.
I'm Kim Daly. I've been in Wichita about 13 years and we love it here. So I met Blessing at church. I was asked to give her a right because she didn't have transportation and I guess I was a little confused with how somebody from the Congo had arrived in Wichita. That's just not an everyday thing. I learned very quickly that I was very ignorant to the fact that there are still wars going on in parts of Africa and that there were refugees still fleeing those countries. And so my family and I drove to her apartment and picked her up for church and we just noticed something really special about her. She's very driven, she's a very hard worker.
Hello, my name is Blessing. I’m originally from Congo and I lived in Uganda for 12 years as a refugee before I came to America. And I’ve been living here for 25 months in Wichita. Kim is my best, best friend I met here and I'm so thankful to God because she were the first person I met and want to know everything about me and helped me a lot in any way. Everything I know here it's because of her and her family.
It was God who plan it to be that way. The war, they were killing people every day so we decided to flee from Congo to go anywhere life would take us. We ended up in Uganda it was in 2004. At that time I was 15 years. My experience in Congo, it's really, really, really bad there. You know every day they are just killing people and it's really, really hard, you know, because just, just imagining… living with that fear every day. Even if… now I'm here in America, but when I think, when people are living there with fear, because living with fear is… it's really, really, really bad. Women are getting raped, children are being killed. I really feel pity for them.
They call it the war of resources because in eastern Congo it's where there is many resources because that scene creates many group of rebels and they don't care about people's life. Growing up in Uganda, it was not easy but actually it's better living a refugee in Uganda than living in Congo where you would fear getting killed every day, even if you don't have anything else but you have life. So we have been waiting all those years until we get this blessing of coming to America.
My first month here in Wichita, Kansas it was strange. Americans fear strangers – that's how they grew up. But in Africa is different because you can just meet someone, shake hands, tell stories. American smiles, say hi, but they don't approach you because they don't get along with someone they don't know and sometime you'd be a people because it's new. So if people approach us, it will help us feel like home.
I wish more people would understand how similar we are to refugees. At the core, we're people. They're the same as we are, and to just get to know them, ask questions. They overcame a lot of obstacles to make it out of their situation and a lot of patience and to get to this country. And here they are starting all over again. I’m so happy to be an American – yeah it's a dream come true. I've been waiting for 12 years. I'm so blessed to be here and all the people I've met here. I'm really grateful to God. That's a blessing.
Download the eBook at New Prairie Press
Published April 2019
Recommended Citation: Harlow, Trina D., "Journey to Refuge: Understanding Refugees, Exploring Trauma, and Best Practices for Newcomers and Schools" (2019). NPP eBooks. 26. https://newprairiepress.org/ebooks/26
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
See the full Refuge in the Heartland documentary
For more information about the eBook or film, please contact Dr. Trina Harlow, Book Editor and Film Co-Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.