My family and I lived a simple, happy life in the Central African Republic. We had a house, a shop and we had each other. But in 2003, I witnessed an unspeakable violence that threatened our very existence. Rebel fighters came to my shop and demanded money. When I refused, they assaulted me. When my wife sought help, they assaulted her too. The rebels ransacked my shop and my house. The destruction and violence would not stop. We had to flee. We walked more than 50 miles to the Republic of Chad.
Life in a refugee camp was difficult. We were unable to work, and we had to receive food from the United Nations (UN) and other agencies. When UN delegates came to the camp and witnessed the plight of my family, I was able to apply for resettlement. The process took three years including, medical examinations for each family member and a lot of paperwork. On the day I was told my family and I would be going to the United States - even though we had no idea where the United States was or what awaited us - we knew it was a gift from heaven and God’s blessing.
Thanks to Catholic Charities and many others, life has been very good for my family and me since we arrived. My wife and I work in the same factory, three of my sons work in the factory warehouse and my younger children are in school. I can afford to give them food, medicine and a place to live. I am happy that my family is safe and together.