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Meet the Mbalas Family

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?

A: Yes.

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 And Happy Fourth of July!

by Beth Frigola-McGinn, Director of Communications

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