Category Archives: Rwanda

Maurice, Rachel, et Jackson

Maurice, Rachel, et leur fils Jackson sont arrivés à Durham en novembre 2014. Ils viennent de Rwanda et rejoignent deux autres enfants de la famille qui habitent ici depuis cinq mois : leur fils Lenny et leur fille Alice. La famille est Congolaise à l’origine.

Entre eux, la famille parle le kinyarwanda, alors Lenny a traduit l’entretien. En ce moment, Maurice et Rachel assistent aux cours d’anglais, et Jackson étudie à un lycée à Durham.


(Le drapeau rwandais)


(Une carte de Rwanda. RDC, le pays d’origine de la famille, est aussi présenté.)


(L’alphabet en Kinyarwanda.)

Qu’est-ce que vous vous souvenez de votre arrivée à Durham ?

R: Nous étions très fatigués. Lorsque nous sommes arrivés en Amérique, nous avions donné toutes les choses aux autres. Nous ne croyons pas que nous pouvions apporter tout ce que nous avions chez nous ici en Amérique.

Est-ce que Durham est ce que vous avez imaginé quand vous étiez chez vous?

M : Ce que j’ai imaginé de Durham avant d’arriver en Amérique, c’est la sécurité et le développement des villes américaines. C’est ce que je voulais voir depuis longtemps, et je l’ai vu ici. C’est vraiment un bon pays.


(La ville de Durham.)

Quelle est votre chose préférée de votre vie ici à Durham ? Et chez vous ?

R : Les gens que j’ai rencontrés ici. Dans l’autre pays, je ne pouvais pas quitter la maison sans fermer la porte à clé. Mais ici, quand j’ai fait ça, quitter la maison avec la porte ouverte, je suis retournée et toutes les choses étaient encore là ! Il n’y a pas de vol ici à Durham.

Quels sont vos buts et aspirations pour l’avenir ?

M : Je pense que, à l’avenir, je vais trouver d’emploi. Je veux faire ça et je veux bien m’installer ici à Durham, comme les autres.

R : Je veux bien étudier et apprendre l’anglais ! Après que je peux clairement m’exprimer, il devrait plus facile de trouver d’emploi. Je veux m’occuper des enfants.

J : Je veux étudier la médecine ! Puis, à l’avenir, je peux devenir médecin. Je veux bien travailler comme médecin de cœur. (Jackson lisait son livre de chimie pendant l’entretien.)


(Le rêve de Jackson.)

Snapshot 1 (12-3-2014 11-07 AM)

Maurice, Rachel and Jackson

Maurice, Rachel, and their son Jackson have been in Durham for around a month. They came from Rwanda to join their son and daughter, Lenny and Alice, who have been in Durham for several months. Their family is from the Democratic Republic of Congo by origin. They speak Kinyarwanda, with Lenny acting as an interpreter. Maurice and Rachel are currently attending ESL classes, and Jackson is enrolled at a local high school.


(The flag of Rwanda.)


(A map of Rwanda. DRC, the family’s country of origin, is also shown.)


(The Kinyarwanda alphabet.)

What do you remember about your arrival in Durham?

R: We were very tired. Before coming to Durham, we had given everything to other people. We didn’t think that we could bring everything we had back home with us here.

Was Durham what you imagined it to be?

M: What I imagined about Durham before coming to the US was the security and development of American cities. It’s what I have always wanted to see, and I have had the chance to see it here. It really is a good country.


(The city of Durham.)

What have you liked the most about your life here?

R: The people I’ve met here have been so nice. Back in the other country, we could never leave the house without locking the door. But when we did that here the other day, we came back to find everything here! People don’t steal here in Durham.

What are some of your future plans?

M: I think I would like to find a job in the future. I want to do that and to establish myself in Durham, like everyone else.

R: I would really like to learn English well. If I can express myself clearly, it will be much easier to find a job. I would like to work as a babysitter.

J: I would like to study medicine, and then become a doctor. I would really want to become a cardiologist. (Jackson has been reading his chemistry textbook throughout the interview.)


(Jackson’s dream.)

Snapshot 1 (12-3-2014 11-07 AM)


JL is a 13-year-old boy from Rwanda who is one of the members of MASTERY, a weekly program held at Duke University that acts as an afterschool-mentoring program for refugee children of all ages in Durham. His mother and sister had fled to Rwanda from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and about three months ago they moved to the United States as refugees. It was a big adjustment for him, since he didn’t speak any English upon arrival here. Although he claims his English isn’t very good, he has been a really fast learner. When asked how he practices his English, JL responded “I just talk to everybody!” He also says he likes to read books, and says he even reads the dictionary sometimes to learn new words.


The Rwandan flag – country where JL was born

Although there was some culture shock upon first arrival seeing the houses and the cars, JL has quickly begun adapting US culture. He is often seen wearing a snapback and listening to Chris Brown on his iPhone, whom he says is his favorite singer. JL is a big fan of soccer and basketball and says his favorite basketball player is Michael Jordan and that his favorite soccer player is Messi. JL also likes playing soccer with his friends here in Durham, and says that the soccer here is better than in Rwanda because he has better soccer shoes here with cleats. JL met one of his best friends, Najib, by playing soccer, and many of the kids in the community enjoy playing soccer together on the weekend as it really ties the community together.


Lionel Messi – JL’s favorite soccer player


Chris Brown – JL’s favorite musician


Although JL does feel a sense of community in MASTERY because he is with people that are from his country and with other refugees who are in a similar situation than him, he says he does not yet feel a sense of community in Durham. He does like his apartment complex, Oak Creek, because he has friends there and feels safe, saying that there are “no bad boys”. He is looking forward to seeing snow for the first time in Durham, and is excited to play in the snow.


Duke MASTERY Program

JL has big dreams for the future, saying that he would like to be a doctor when he grows up so that he can help people. He says that doctors helped his mother when she was sick once, and he wants to be able to do the same for other people. We wish him the best of luck in his future here in the US and hope that he fulfills all of his dreams.


My name is Lenny. My sister and I arrived here in America on the Fourth of July.

Q: And where are you from?

A: We came from Rwanda. But, my nationality is Congolese.

                         rwandaflag               congoflag

Q: What did you think of the United States when you first arrived?

A: We had a vision of America ; we had different dreams and visions of the people that are here. When we arrived, everybody was moving in circulation and it was very different from our country.


Q: And you told me earlier that you all didn’t like the United States a lot during your first month here, why and how did that perception change ?

A: When I came to America, I was with my sister, certainly. And where we lived, the people there, I never saw people who didn’t say hello to you. Every morning, when I was in my country, I always had a vision of someone saying ‘Hello’ or ‘How are you ?’ But, when we arrived here, I was only with my sister, always side-by-side with me, and things were very different than in my country.

After, we did meet a lot of different people that we liked and who liked us, while learning how to do things differently in America, like how to prepare food and how to do other things that are different in America than in our country.

Q: What do you do now? Do you work?

A: I work currently, We found jobs.

Q: What do you want for your futures in the United States?

A: I’m going to study. My future, after five years, I want to be an engineer. I’m going to start my studies next year at Durham Tech. I want to study the sciences. 


Q: Do you believe you’ve found a community and friends here?

A: Yes, we have met someone from our country and others, who don’t live in Durham but in Raleigh.


I like reading. The book I’m reading now is called Gandhi.