#RefugeesofTLH | Kasongo & Fazili
Meet Kasongo & Fazili
My name is Kasongo Kaneke. I am Congolese. I am married to my wife, Fazili. We have 8 children. Before war, my wife and I made a life for ourselves in Congo. We had a small business where I sold oil to restaurants and neighbors after buying it wholesale. Fazili, when her health was good, sold bananas and nuts and french fries she made on the side of the road. This was our work in our home of Congo. But then war came and everything changed.
When war broke out, we had to flee very quickly. We never had time to collect our things or even say goodbye to the people we loved. Almost all of our family members were later killed. After fleeing from Congo, we lived in a refugee camp in Tanzania. In the beginning we longed for home, but knew we would probably never be able to return. Once we realized that, because Congo remained so unsafe, we decided to embrace our new life in the camp. This did not come easily because we were faced with many challenges. We had all 8 of our children in Tanzania. Having family in a refugee camp is hard. We oftentimes did not have shoes. We were given tools and a few cut trees to build a small house for ourselves. We had small food rations that were not enough for us. We needed money to purchase a mill to make corn flour. That would have been good. It was a constant struggle to feed everyone. When we were able to find work on farms in Tanzania, we at least had a little money for vegetables. When we could get them, we ate peas, corn, beans, and lentils mostly.
In Tanzania, we were involved in the Christian church. We helped establish a church there. I even brought the church handbook with me to America. Fazili liked to sing. The church was where we found community. Our friends and God helped us so much in our struggles. We knew God heard every one of our prayers.
When we were at the camp, we knew we might get to leave to live somewhere safe. We told God we wanted to go where He needed us, but we hoped for the United States. After 20 years of living in the refugee camp, we were told we would soon be headed to America. With our 8 children, we were so grateful to begin the journey to our new home.
In the fall of 2016, after many questions from the government and meetings, we arrived in Tallahassee, Florida. We had so much hope and many dreams for our new life in Tallahassee. We looked forward to our kids being in school and having insurance for them. The schools in Tallahassee are better than in Tanzania. We are hopeful that our children will do better and better, as they learn more English. When we arrived here, I remember we were concerned about not having a church home. But we have one now. I have two good jobs and my oldest son is looking for work. Fazili has a job too. I am studying to get my driving permit. I am learning more English. One day we want to own our own house. We also hope to reunite with the few family members we left behind in Tanzania and Fazili’s brother in Zimbabwe. We love Tallahassee and are thankful for our life here. We are so grateful for the people we have met here and the love they give to us. Tallahassee is home now.
Donations for this family will go towards things like an Oxford Picture Dictionary ($25), a white board and dry erase markers (for English learning and school) ($50), Office Suite for PC ($125), Nursery gift certificate for garden supplies and seed ($275), Internet for 6 months ($350), a laptop ($900), 3 dressers ($675). Extra will go toward rent, family vehicle, medical, computer lessons
We are pleased to partner with Emergency Care Help Organization (ECHO) in this effort. In addition to connecting support services and resources to our families, ECHO has committed its stewardship, accountability, and transparency to accept charitable contributions and donations on our behalf as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.