In Southwest Houston, a small community of about sixty Congolese refugees have banded together to form The Way, a church led by Alimasi Toto, a farmer with Plant It Forward. All have been uprooted by war, all have sought refuge in neighboring African countries, and all, finally, have found sanctuary in this welcoming city and in each other.
But the recent floods threaten to upend the fragile lives they have begun to build for themselves here, and to disrupt the community that sustains them. Four of the ten families have lost cars--an essential mode of transportation in this city. Two families have been displaced from their apartments, which are in that part of the city that still, a week on, remains under water. Many are being told by their employers that there won't be work for them for at least a month. Alimasi's farm was wiped out by all of the rain. And because of flooding at the Holiday Inn where they were holding their church services, they have nowhere to congregate all together and find comfort in one another. The first Sunday after the floods, a few met in the crowded living room of the apartment of Alimasi and his wife, Fatuma. Many of the displaced refugees are now living with him and his children and with other fellow parishioners.
All donations will be most deeply appreciated and will go towards meeting the immediate needs of the individuals in this community, which are great and will continue to be over the next several months and more. The recovery for all of those here in Houston who lost homes and cars and possessions will be painful and prolonged, but even more so for those, like these Congolese refugees, who were already living without much security.
- Donna Harati
- Evan Michaelides
- Caitlin Cash
- Ione Podgore
Organizer and beneficiary
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