#RefugeesofTLH | Kilozo and Nayenge
Meet Kilozo and Nayenge
My name is Kilozo wa Kilozo. I come from Congo, but I have not been there since I was a boy. When I was 13 years old, I was forced to run away from my home. War broke out at night. I ran with only the clothes on my back and my younger brother and sister following close behind. My parents did not survive. I watched people die. I cannot forget that. It haunts me.
When we were fleeing we took a boat, but it couldn’t get us across the water safely. We were stuck for one week, unable to go anywhere. I had no money. Then a good Samaritan took me where I needed to go. I remember there were goats with us. I was so young, but God took care of me and I am so grateful for the person who helped me.
After leaving Congo, I spent the next 20 years living in a refugee camp in Tanzania, but I could not call it home. It was impossible to compare it to all I left behind in Congo. Still, I found some happiness. In Congo, sometimes men have more than one wife like my father. My mother was the younger wife. She was unable to escape the war. But my stepmother was able to flee and I found her at the refugee camp in Tanzania. She raised us with great love and care. She was my guide. It was so good to see her in Tanzania.
In the refugee camp I also met, Nayenge, my wife. She also had to flee from Congo. In the middle of the night, as she was sharing a bed with her grandmother, they heard people coming and had to run. Her parents, who were in the next room, were killed before her eyes. We both have seen terrible things. But it was good for us to meet and get married.
When we were in the refugee camp it was hard for us to find enough food. The monthly donations brought to us were not enough and we had to find other ways to make ends meet. We were able to lease land for farming. This was good because we grew enough food to eat and sell. I was also a tailor and did some brick masonry. This work provided for us so we could marry, care for my stepmother, and later feed our 6 children.
When I was in Tanzania, I accepted what my life was there. I believed I would die there. But one day I found my name, as well as Nayenge’s and the names of my children posted on a list for America. We had to answer so many questions and see doctors. Then we left for Tallahassee in the fall of 2016. We have been in Tallahassee for many months. I am so thankful to be here… for my church and the government. I never thought I would be loved and cared for by others in America. I like Tallahassee better than Tanzania. When I came here I dreamed of having a good job to support my family. Now I have two. I hoped my children would go to school. They just finished their first school year in Tallahassee. I dreamed of learning English. I am still working hard on that. I hoped to put down roots and have friends. I have found community here. We are like a family. When I left I also hoped that my stepmom and my brother could come to Tallahassee. I am still hoping for that. But I have embraced the new beginning God has given me. Shortly after I got here, I decided to leave Congo and Tanzania behind and focus on my new life in Tallahassee. I am glad I did.
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), 2 bikes and ride alongs for kids ($700), Internet for 9 months ($500), a laptop ($900). 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.