Fidel with Boise’s Mayor

Fidel is honored by Boise Mayor Dave Bieter for becoming a US Citizen and for his contributions to the Idaho refugee community.

Fidel Publishes New Book of Poetry!

Fidel is published once again with Volume 2 to of his “Route to Peace” poetry series.  In this volume Fidel reflects on the courage, strength and determination it requires to be a refugee.  He sheds light on the atrocities of war, and particularly the brutality women face in war zones.  Fidel is a voice for peace and change and admonishes men who go along with brutal practices in the name of cultural acceptance.  Fidel also reflects on the experience of being separated from family by war.

Please support Fidel’s call to improve the lives of refugees by buying a copy of this book for yourselves and sharing it with others.  If you order through this website on our “Buy Poetry” page, we will automatically send you his latest volume unless you specifically request Volume 1.  Please let us know if you would like both volumes, in which case, you will receive a $5 discount off your order.

Thanks and Enjoy!   

A Local Celebrity Needs YOUR Help!

If you haven’t yet, please go check out this story on the local news.

It’s rather amazing that Fidel Nshombo can garner so much attention and success yet still struggle to make ends meet.  This is the reality of refugee life.  We at Boise to Bukavu Inc. (B2B) are determined that Fidel achieve the American dream of supporting himself and his family.  We need supporters to get through these next 1-2 years where Fidel and our organization are still the sole support of his family of 10 family members in Uganda – six of whom are in school or need to be in school.  We also try to provide funds for Fidel’s windowed sister to keep her 5 kids in school.

Fidel is a national success by any standards other than financial.  He was chosen as Idaho’s delegate to the national conference to address refugee issues in Washington DC this past summer, he will be the keynote speaker to a conference in Chicago in 2 weeks, and yesterday the City of Boise honored Fidel with the Mayor’s Award for his humanitarian service to their community.  It has taken Fidel only 5 years in the U.S. to achieve this sort of recognition.  However, this recognition does not come with financial reward other than an occasional modest speaking fee.   Fidel and B2B still struggle every quarter to cover the minimal expenses of his family (housing, food, medical and school fees) in Africa.   We sell his poetry volume online at this site, but that is a way to share his amazing work with the world, more than a way to raise the type of funds we need.
Truly, what we need most is your tax deductible donation Boise To Bukavu, Inc. so that we can apply 100% of it towards his family’s sustenance.  Can you help us to help the Nshombo family?!   Every little bit helps!  $25 will feed this family for several days!  No contributions are too small, and all contribution is hugely appreciated.   Thank you!

Ruth

Life in the fast lane

It just keeps happening.  Every time I turn around 2 things have happened.  1.  Too much time has passed since we last updated everyone.  2. Fidel has gone and done more amazing things.

Big news item #1.  Fidel is a US Citizen!  Yeah – I know.  Wasn’t he ALWAYS a citizen?  Truth is, although he’s done more for his City, and this Country, than many, he’s just now achieved formal citizenship.  So cool and we are so proud to call him a fellow US Citizen.

Big news item #2.  He was honored yesterday for his dedication to Boise.  Even got a key from Mayor Bieter!  To top it off –  he was on the news.  Go check it out.    So – he’s an ‘honored’ Boise citizen only weeks after becoming a US Citizen.  Not too bad.

Fidel – you constantly amaze me and I’m so proud of you.

 

Keith

Momentum

Wow – I just looked back at the last couple years of updates and almost all of them start with “It’s been a long time since we’ve updated you” – so I’m not going to say that again.  It remains true, however, that life throws so much at us that it’s difficult sometimes to keep the momentum going.  Enter the kick in the pants.

Ruth and I were invited to attend a fundraiser yesterday here in Jackson yesterday.  I knew next to nothing about what we were attending except that it had something to do with refugees.  Imagine my surprise when I walked in and the first person I saw was Michel Gabaudin.  A little over a year ago  I mentioned in a  post on this website  having met Michel at a presentation in Boise.  At that time he was  the U.S. and Caribbean representative to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and I was thrilled to have had the opportunity to hear him speak and talk with him very briefly.  What an honor to actually get to meet him again.

Given the intimate size of the event yesterday I had a chance to speak with him more, explain to him what we’re doing and who Fidel is, and learn about his new role.  He is now the President of Refugees International.    I could spend some time trying to explain who they are and what they do but it would be easier for you to just go to the website and listen to Michel explain.  Suffice it to say they’re trying to address the many challenges confronting refugees around the world from the top down, and they’re doing some impressive things.  It was great to hear Michel acknowledge, however, that small efforts like our own, working with one man (albeit an amazing one) and his family could make a huge difference as well, and in someways has advantages.

We talked about how hard it is sometimes for he and RI to deeply reach donors because the scope of the refugee issue is so large and the work they do is largely to affect policy at the country level.   A small success to RI could impact the lives of thousands if not millions of refugees – but sometimes it’s hard for donors to make a tangible connection.  Contrast that with the work we do with and for Fidel.  There’s no issue with tangible connection.  Stand Fidel in front of a group of people and let him tell his story, or read his poetry, and there are few people who walk away unchanged.  Of course, the other advantage is that if Fidel walks away from an event having raised $1,000.00 it’s huge.  RI needs much more money to tackle the scope of what they do.

As Ruth and I were leaving the event we disucssed briefly with Michel how we might work together.  Michel acknowledged that it might be helpful for him to have someone like Fidel addressing his donors to create that tangible connection.  We know Fidel would be amazing at it, and would have the opportunity to generate more awareness of his specific situation.   The world beyond Boise deserves to know Fidel.   Maybe this could be a way to make that happen.

Just the kick in the pants I needed.

Exciting Times

These are exciting times for Fidel.  Although in many ways he is still struggling, as most refugees do, with finding a reliable job, with providing for his familiy in Uganda and with the little things that so many of us take for granted, Fidel’s role as a key ambassador in the Boise refugee world continues to grow.   He continues to be in demand as a keynote speaker for events in Boise, and has once again acted as the Master of Ceremonies at World Refugee Day.   There’s more this year though.   In March, at the 3rd Annual Conference for Refugees, Fidel’s tireless contribution to the Boise community of refugees was recognized as he was awarded the Refugee Integration and Success Award.   Read more about his award at the IRC website.

The future has great things in store as well.  First – and something to truly celebrate – Fidel gets his citizenship next week.  I, for one, believe it’s truly an honor to be able to call Fidel one of my fellow US Citizens and am so happy that he can now enjoy the benefits that come with it.

The most exciting news, however, is that Fidel has been nominated to represent Idaho at the UNHCR  Refugee Congress in Washington D.C..   The UNHCR (United Nations High Commisioner for Refugees) explains the aim of this important gathering as follows.

As we mark 60 years of refugee protection, we look to people who were themselves uprooted for insight and guidance on the way forward. The planning, proceedings, and outcomes of the Congress will reflect the priorities of refugees in the United States.

Fidel will have the opportunity to hear from key policy makers, take part in workshops discussing the challenges facing refugee protection and resettlement and then report out on findings and recommendations.  He’ll then have the opportunity to meet with our congressmen to discuss outcomes and recommendations.  Is that cool or what??

There is alot of additional activity going on in Fidel’s life as well.  Most notable is that he has 2 additional books in the works.  He has another book of poems he’s putting together and he has finished the first draft of his life story.  We’re taking some care with his life story because we believe it’s such an impressive and important story that it deserves a chance at a real publisher.  We feel like we have an opportunity to provide Fidel a national audience.    If things work out – both new books will be available soon on this website, and in a bookstore near you!.

On the Uganda front, the family is doing well.  The kids remain in school and are doing great.  Peggy Doucette, who’s already visited twice, is going again in a couple weeks so we look forward to having more pictures to share.

So – exciting times.  We hope Fidel remembers us when he’s a worldwide phenomenon.

 

 

November/December 2010 News

PLEASE READ our B2B NEEDS page (see Tab above) for the Dec. 2010 post that identifies a new financial support opportunity for B2B supporters to help 5 nieces and nephews of Fidel’s in Kisingali, Congo who lost their father very suddenly approximaely 6 months ago. We need your help!

Fidel Nshombo mesmerized a crowd at the Idaho Black History museum in November with his moving poetry and his amazing way of articulating his journey through 28 years of life through about 10 countries on 2 continents. 52 copies of his poetry book were sold at this event. A local university professor made the book required reading for his fall semester class, and encouraged his students to attend Fidel’s reading. It is amazing the influence Fidel is having in the Boise community. It is B2B’s hope to bring more attention to Fidel and his work nationally and internationally.

Grace Morgan, a cousin of B2B’s founders, visited the Nshombo family in Kampala in November 2010. They enjoyed quite a bit of ime together and were able to skype Fidel from Grace’s computer and get a brief tour of Fidel’s Boise apartment and neighborhood! This family has fallen in love with Grace after 2 visits from her in 2010. Gelord Nshombo sums it up perfectly on a 12/3 facebook post, well afer her visit, where he is clearly just thinking about her: “I like mum Grace!”

B2B is working on an exciting connection with a Rwandan priest who is building a “Center For The Peace” on the shores of beautiful Lake Kivu which borders both Rwanda and Congo (DRC). A Jackson Hole resident has worked with this priest for 2 years both in the US and Rwanda to help him further his vision. We are talking with her about bringing Fidel and the priest together in 2011. Stay tuned for further developments. This connection has fabulous potential to ripple out across many Americans and Africans who care about peace and healing.

End of Nov/Dec news. Scroll down for previous posts or visit Tabs above to learn more about the work of B2B and the amazing Nshombo family members currently living on 2 continents in 3 countries.