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Mireille & Mery Nabukomborwa

Occupation: Students

Country of Birth: Burundi (Mireille), Democratic Republic of the Congo (Mery)

Current: Buffalo, NY

Mery: “When we get interview, people in the government of America? say yes, we have to wait like seven month or one year and then we wait in the camp. We go back to the camp and we wait in the camp. When the immigration come, we go to to city like capital city in Burundi.”

Mirelle: “To get water It was difficult. Like in the summer, you can go to the mud and find water. To find water you have to climb the mountain to get water. It was far away.”

Mery Nabukomborwa was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo before moving to a refugee camp in Burundi due to widespread violence in the Congo. Mirellie Nabukomborwa was born inside the refugee camp in Burundi two years after Mery. The sisters have a large family consisting of two brothers and three other sisters.

Life was difficult in the camps due to a lack of food, water, and proper transportation to attend school. Mirellie and Mery were called to an U.S immigration interview on behalf of their family. After getting confirmation from the U.S. government, they were able to begin the process of immigration and travel to America.

Traveling to America was difficult for the girls because they were not able to eat anything for two days on the plane due to their lack of English and the unfamiliarity with airplane food. However, after landing in Buffalo, New York, they were able to meet their uncle for the first time in their lives. They began their new lives in a house in Buffalo which warranted an adjustment period because Mery and Mirellie were not accustomed to American appliances.

Mery and Mirellie began high school at Lafayette High School four months after arriving in the U.S. Going to an American school was challenging for the girls because they did not have a strong grasp of English yet. However, through the help of their English teachers, they were able to improve their skills. Mery and Mirellie have dreams of becoming doctors in the future because they have seen the diseases and the lack of education that many people in their country suffer from. Their dream is to become doctors to help improve the situation of their country which is a dream they will fight for and never give up on.