From the Democratic Republic of Congo, to Cleveland, Through Hardship and Joy
On Thursday, July 21st, iForeignBorn went to an event at Lincoln-West High School where we met Mr. Crispin Kamucici, whose son was enrolled there. We learned that Crispin is a refugee from the Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo who had lived in Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda, for 14 years before coming to the United States just a few months ago. His story sounded interesting to us, so we made a date to interview him the following week at “Egilse Evangelique Amour du Christ,” at the Metro Alliance Church building on Bridge Avenue, of which he is a minister.
Just as we expected, his story was both fascinating and inspirational. Mr. Kamucici told us how he lived with his wife, Nyota, and their seven children in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo where he served as a pastor and also did some accounting work.
A civil war broke out there so he fled with his family to Rwanda in 2002. They didn’t live in a refugee camp, however. Instead, they settled in Kigali where Mr. Kamucici found work as teacher of English and French as well as accounting. “These jobs helped me raise my children,” he said.
Along these lines, he and Nyota had several more children bringing the number to 10, who are now between the ages of 24 and 4 years old. He didn’t lose sight of his vocation of being a pastor, though, so in 2003 he founded the “Shekinah Apostolic Ministries Church” which had 100 members when he left to move to the United States to start a new life.
Accordingly, he and his family arrived in the United States on April 26, 2016. From what Mr. Kamucici told us, they have received good assistance from the Migration and Refugee Services (MRS) department of Catholic Charities Diocese of Cleveland. He really loves working with his case worker there who has done all that he can to make the family’s transition an easy one.
They are receiving public assistance now, but Mr. Kamucici can’t wait to find a job and is doing all that he can to do so. He certainly doesn’t lack for qualifications since he has worked as a teacher, an accountant (which includes doing some bookkeeping) and a pastor. What’s more, he speaks multiple languages which are English, French, Swahili, Kinyarwanda, Kirundi, and Lingala! He really appreciates the opportunity that he and his family were given when the United Nations designated them to re-settle in the United States because there he believes that there is no other country like it in terms of opportunities. For example, in Rwanda he had to pay for the entire education of his children but here they have the option of public education. His 17 year-old son, who we met at Lincoln-West High School, loves playing football there. Five of his other children attend Thomas Jefferson International Newcomers Academy.
When we asked Mr. Kamucici about his goals, he smiled and said that he actually has two sets of them; short-term and long-term. The short-term goals include obtaining a job so that he can support his family, making new friends, being an asset to his community, and improving his English and his communication skills.
Somewhat in-between short-term and long-term, he would like to attend college to study either theology or leadership/business management. Back in Africa, he earned an associate degree in Ministerial theology, from a U.S. college on distance learning and two diplomas from Cambridge International College in the areas of business management and administration. At the time of this writing, he does not know if these will be recognized here in the United States.
As for the long-term, he would love to establish a church because he believes that preaching the Gospel is the key to transforming lives. Not surprisingly, he is quite active in the “Eglise Evangelique Amour du Christ” based at Metro Alliance Church building (where our interview was conducted) which he describes as “not a Congolese church,” although a lot of people who have emigrated from the Congo worship there, but is, instead, “open to all.” He introduced us to Pastor Paul Sevelo who is the Pastor of that Church and a good friend of his.
In the meanwhile, he wants to be active in his new community and in his new country and do things to help those back in Africa who are experiencing a difficult life.
When we asked him if there is anything about the United States that he has seen so far that he would like to see be improved, he said, “every country has its realities…the way people live in Africa is not the way that people live here. In Africa, people tend to act according to God’s principles. People here do not know the realities in other countries so they do not take advantage of the opportunities before them. So I believe that some people here can do better than what they are doing.”
We agree with Mr. Kamucici and are very glad to have met him and appreciate him sharing his story with us.
After this interview, Mr. Kamucici interviewed at Margaret W. Wong & Associates and has been working with us ever since, doing legal writing, working on our website, and working in a team to manage the mail in and out of our office.