Come One, Come All! Our good friend Dayo is hosting a fundraiser that you simply can’t miss. Anyone that thinks Boise still lacks diversity hasn’t experienced Global Lounge Group. We’ll be there.
As the holiday season is upon us, it is time to give thanks for the health and well being of the Nshombos in Uganda. Life there is not without challenges, but as usual they push through and focus on creating a better future. We think that future is going to become much better soon! 2015 should see the Nshombos relocated to Canada. They have gone through last phases of the UNHCR relocation process before they are actually relocated. They have been told they have been accepted into Canada, but they do not know where in Canada yet! We, of course, hope for Vancouver or another western Canadian city, but wherever they are, it will be a wonderful new opportunity for them to live safely and securely for the first time in decades.
Fidel, Aline and their 3 girls, Joyce, Jocelyne and Jeanette, are looking for a house in Boise as their roots are here and Boise NEEDS them! Obviously, travels to Canada will be in their future! For that matter, travels to Canada will be in our future too as we will finally get to meet the family we have known by phone and internet for about 8 years.
We would love to provide some special holiday gifts for the Nshombos on what we assume will be their last Christmas in Uganda. We appreciate any donations you can provide to Boise To Bukavu to help with this, and their final months in Uganda. We continue to support the kids in school and provide housing and food money until they are relocated. Please click our “Donate” button if you are able to help this holiday season. Thank you!
We’ve added a new friend to our friends list. (Look right – where we have links to other blogs). Be the Change, Inc., however, isn’t a new friend. Peggy Doucette, whom those close to Fidel know well as one of his Boise “Mom”s, was partnering with them when she visited the family in Uganda. She’s been working with them since 2009 but we’re just now adding them to our website. Below is a little blurb about the group.Be the Change, Inc. is an accredited 501(c) 3 non-profit organization founded in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, working primarily in eastern Africa. The mission is to build partnerships between both adult and student leadership groups in US and Africa to develop sustainable projects at the grass-roots level. BTC Boise was formed in 2009, the same year that trip participants met Fidel Nshombo, a Congolese refugee now living in Boise, Idaho. Just before the team left for Uganda, Fidel had found out that his family was alive and living in a refugee camp in Uganda. 48 hours later, the team, housed in the outskirts of the capital city of Kampala, heard a knock on the compound door and we met Arnold, Fidel’s younger brother. In the ensuing years, trip participants have had the honor of visiting with Fidel’s family, helping to support and celebrate (40th wedding jubilee) with them.
What it doesn’t say is that Peggy, a Doctor here in Boise, provided some much-needed medical services while visiting and that we’re forever in debt to her for that. So – go check them out, donate, volunteer or all of the above.
If you weren’t able to make the Celebration at the Sapphire Room I’m sorry for you. You missed a hugely entertaining and inspiring evening. We hope to put up some additional photos and videos of the party part but we’ll lead with the video of Fidel’s address to the group of friends who were there. Most of the folks there knew Fidel well, and yet, as he always does, he still managed to inspire us all immensely. Some to tears.
Briefly I want to say thank you on behalf of Fidel and Aline, Boise to Bukavu and all of our friends, for the role you’ve played in helping him get his family here. If you haven’t heard, the entire family has been selected for relocation to Canada and with perseverance and some luck should be there (here) by the end of the year. The money raised at this event will go a long way to help make that happen.
Peace to all – and without further ado – here’s Fidel.
A World Music Celebration for poet Fidel Nshombo
April 5th, 2014 – 7:00pm to 9:30pm
Featuring Tambalka and The Afrosonics
For Tickets, CLICK HERE
Doors to The Sapphire Room will open at 6pm, with appetizers, dinner, and drinks available. The show will begin at 7pm with Tambalka, after which Fidel will treat us to his original poetry. The evening will finish with Dayo Ayodele and The Afrosonics. This promises to be an amazing night!
One hundred percent of ticket sales for this concert will be given to boisetobukavu.org to help reunite Fidel’s family.
Now y’all are asking me about the journey that my family and I took to escape
But how much do you value my experience?
Because I am not a victim here and I do not need your pity whatever that may coast for I am a criminal, a criminal, an innocent criminal.
In any war there’s always been a survivor whose story is ignored and forsaken.
Like the miseries of the Congo that’s ignored in-order for you and I can text and play angry birds.
We been deprived of school but not education,
We been denied a voice but not the memory
For we remember, every single evil that was done to us like it was yesterday.
I have always said that what you told is not what’s happening,
It’s more serious than a bloody civil war.
But you can’t believe me right!
Because you have a PhD and I am just a little boy from Africa,
An uneducated boy at that!
Hey! I saw what happened okay!
It was not a civil war, it was an invasion.
It was not 5 million casualty, it was double that.
What you read was a government covers up like in 1994 when they refused to call what was going on in Rwanda “genocide”.
You still want to hear my story right!
But what will you do when you see your reflection in the tear drop of my cousin after he had killed his family under order from the rebels?
Will it make you a better person?
Will it make you appreciate your own life?
Or will it make you learn more, and encourage you people to work and make a difference in the lives of those that need it the most?
Remember, I am a witness to an evil that was done to my people,
And your own country may have some of their blood on her hands.
Look at our children!
Most of them have killed!
Yet they are innocent of any crimes,
All of them were ordinary boys and girls before you prioritized minerals over lives,
They became expendable.
Their parents were killed before their own eyes; some were forced to participate in the killings before being abducted.
Our boys and girls have all killed, but yet, they are all innocent of any crime.
Abducted after watching their parents murdered,
Injected with drugs and alcohol,
Thought how to kill and have no mercy over anyone.
Our boys and girls chopped off limbs, hands and breasts while doing many terrible things under order from rebels who are supplying the world with minerals in exchange for guns that are then used to kill more of our people.
Over six million people have been murdered in the Congo, half of them children.
Every time you buy a new cell phone you are financing the killings of children in the Congo.
More people have died in Congo in the last ten years, than any other conflict combine in the last 40 years.
But nobody has heard of it right! Because it’s happening in Africa
I ask you all which sides will you choose? You either with life or war
With refugees or none
When everyone pretend not to see them violated, will you fight for them?
And when the world turn away with them bleeding will you stand by them?
Do you want to be the voice of the voiceless?
Do you want to give them a hand out, hand to hang on, hold on?
Let the world not act but at least they have heard of them.
Tell them positively about refugees you met here today, not like a label,
We have the tendency of labeling victims of attrocities
Like the great and outstanding human that is talking to you today.
I know that there are systems in place that works against refugees,
Trouble, trouble and trouble it seems as though they running out of time.
Thinking tomorrow will bring better days but it passes by.
The system is helping them but barely keeping them alive,
Leading them to next meal and a day closer to death,
I am terrified; I am terrified of lying to the mirror,
Telling myself that I am worthy of respect, but outside there I am looked at as “just a poor refugee, stateless, homeless. “
Africa must be the responsibility of every one, the western nations that are benefiting from its wealth, and the African who are dying calling it home. If you are the government, act. If you are a people, persuade your government to act or stop benefiting on her misery so that we would not have to tell you these horrible stories again.
So, I am from the Congo where diamonds, gold and col-tan cost lives
I get questions daily, like “why you won’t cry when you tell your story”
I’m the lost son of the Congo; I’ve seen worse.
Tears don’t come because you don’t cry for the dead when you live in graveyard.
I’m an eight year old child staring in fear as my city is burned down to ashes
I was born of refugee parents, but not in the camp, in America,
Regardless of what I achieve I will always be known as a refugee
My soul died in Zimbabwe, shoot down by evil troops who shoot for a living,
I am a ten year old child marching holding a sign when a colleague got shot in the heard.
I am a twelve year old war victim, displaced person, internal refugee at the bottom of society. The strength, intensity I learned during this time paved the next ten years in my life mixed with lonely feelings locked away in my head
I am a 13 year old illegal immigrant, border jumper, crossing deadly Rivers, crawling under bridges to gain illegal access into countries in search of freedom; these were trips of my life, adventurous
I am a 14 year old asylum seeker, Refugee, struggling for acceptance and equality hearing voices calling you all kind of names that do not define well who I am
Life of refugees is not all that fun, they’ll never let you be who you are
I once heard a man say “Refugees refuse to learn English, huddle together in their own little groups and clans, sponge off the taxpayer, bring their criminal intentions, and other socially unacceptable habits and diseases with them, commit more criminal acts than the natives, don’t and can’t be bothered to fit in to the native way of life, and are a general blot on the landscape.”
I stared at him and shook my head and murmured, Hum, Hum!!!
I am telling you, Life of a refugee is not that fun,
I am a 15 year old high school student, struggling to integrate with native who discriminates bully me out. People! I don’t care how much education you have, if you are not teaches these children humanity you adding nothing positive to the world.
I am a 30 year old father, husband, citizen of the world. I am a world traveler, multi-lingual, multi-cultural multi-national, and a citizen of the united state of America but my citizenship is only noticed when I open my bedroom dresser and take a look at the certificate.
I am a hard worker, courageous, an outstanding human, an innocent’s criminal that has been left out an orphan by the war you all have neglected in order to text and play angry bird.
I was imprisoned, tortured, deported, racially abused, sexually abused and emotionally abused but I thank God for all that came to shake my life but ended up shaping it for the best.
Life of a refugee is not all that fun, it’ll pop open, exposed you for insults,
It will leave your eyes popping out of their sockets,
It will leave you feeling for water and food I am telling you
It’s a man fifty year old opening fire on a group of twelve year old hell no!
They leave the bodies’ rotted, they leave their cops rotted food for vultures
Tell their mothers, keep that casket open
Let the whole world see that it’s not only burning here in the Congo hell it’s hot where you be.
From the Congo to Sudan, from Iran to Iraqi, Pakistan to Afghanistan
People I am a sacrificial lamb for you, my life is what I am willing to give for it
I challenge you to find a cause that’s worth dying for and live for it.
I am not just a Refugee!!! I am human being.
Since Ruth and I have moved to Wyoming, away from Fidel, it’s not as easy to stay up to date with all Fidel’s goings on. Of course, even if we were there in Boise with him, it would still be tough because he’s just so active.
I had the pleasure to spend 30 minutes on the phone with him late last week. He shared all sorts of news with me, some fabulous, some just great, and some less great. He also made a request that I immediately said I’d honor.
I’ll start with his request. Unbeknownst to me Fidel has been collecting video’s of poetry readings, speeches and award presentations and has started posting them to YouTube. He asked if I’d mention them in this website. After slapping myself on my forehead I said yes. There is no better way for you to understand who Fidel is than to let you see and hear him for yourself. The previous post is the video of Fidel accepting an award from Boise’s Mayor for becoming a US citizen and for his contributions to the refugee community in Boise. I’ll post some more videos directly in line here in the near future and will setup links to them all very soon. If you can’t wait – just go to YouTube and search for Fidel N Nshombo.
Maintaining the theme of his contributions to the refugee community, in September, for the second year in a row, Fidel is going to the Annual UNHCR Refugee Congress in Washington DC. This year, however, he’s going as one of only 9 refugee delegates across the country. Last year he represented Idaho. This year he’s been elected to represent the entire Northwest Region. Having witnessed his ability to articulate the plight of refugees first hand, I’m not surprised that he’s been given this honor, but I sure am proud and happy for him. When he returns I’m sure he’ll have stories, and more videos, to share.
Of course, Fidel’s principle focus, above his community work, above College, and even above his own personal needs, is working to get his family out of Uganda. His Mom and Dad have completed the initial phase of the resettlement process but are now being asked to pay $1,500.00 US in order to continue to the next phase. It is unclear who it is that’s asking for money but it is not the UNHCR. Unf0rtunately, corruption is relatively common in many countries in Africa and it appears that is what we’re up against. Refusal to pay will most likely mean, simply, that they don’t leave Uganda. If you’ve read previous posts you know it’s very difficult for them to get jobs as Congolese refugees living in Uganda, so the money has to come from Fidel. That’s on top of the money for housing, food and school for the kids. Net/Net – Fidel and BoiseToBukavu need money. Please, click on the Donate button, or buy a book, and help us help Fidel raise that money.
Ok – ending on a high note. There’s a huge and happy change in Fidel’s future. He’s engaged to a beautiful woman whom he’s met in some of his travels over the last couple years. She’s also a refugee, resettled to Minneapolis, Minnesota, and is from the same village he’s from in Bukavu, Congo. I’ll wait to get clearance from him before I post anything else but I will say that he’s very excited and happy.
Until next time…..