The upcoming Fourth of July holiday is a time to reflect on and appreciate the freedoms and blessings we enjoy as Americans. Since 2017, the Holy Trinity Social Justice Ministry, through a well-organized and dedicated group of parishioners known as the Migrant Team/Migrant Familia, work to share these blessings with others seeking shelter, education, employment and refuge in this country. Today the team accompanies 18 families from 10 countries: Afghanistan, Cameroon, Congo, Gabon, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Sudan and Ukraine.
Who are these mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, daughters and sons? I recently had the privilege of interviewing one family about their experiences here so far and learn about their culture. Meet the Mbalas family from Congo: Etienne, Olga and their four children...
Q: Did you go to school or work when you first arrived in the U.S.?
A: When I first arrived, I went to school first, and I worked after.
Q: Did your family come with you then or later?
A: My family followed me after.
Q: Did you celebrate special occasions with friends and family in the Congo? What were those like?
A: Yes, we celebrated marriages, graduations, and many more other events.
Q: What do you miss about home?
A: I miss my mom, brothers, sisters, and all my extended family.
Q: Have you met other people from Congo here?
Q: How quickly have the children learned English and acclimated?
A: Very fast. We are learning English from them. They have adjusted very quickly, thankfully.
Q: What has been the most challenging thing about trying to settle your family here in the US?
A: First immigration process, second work, and third, housing.
Q: What was the most surprising thing you discovered about living here?
A: Culture difference.
Q: What are some of the good things that have happened to you since you have been here? A: Meeting loving and faithful people like Holy Trinity members has been such a blessing to us.
Q: Please tell us one Congolese dish/food that everyone must try in their lifetime?
A: Nshima! (A staple food made of maize flour and cooked to a dough-like consistency)
If you would like to get involved in the HT Migrant Team/ Migrant Familia program and share your blessings with others, please email them directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. And Happy Fourth of July!
by Beth Frigola-McGinn, Director of Communications