Mbeleci doesn’t have any direct memories of her native Congo. She grew up, went to school, got married, and had her four children in the Nyarugusu Refugee camp before she was resettled in December, 2018. She is now 24.
In the camp, two weeks of food rations sometimes needed to last for a month. Her family supplemented by growing beans, yams and corn. Cooking was done over a campfire. At times there was no clean water. But she has good memories of going to school with caring teachers and wonderful days at the market with her mother. She said living in a camp taught her patience, acceptance, a realization that she is not alone, and an appreciation for her support network.
She was excited to be resettled in Rhode Island. The cold was a shock, but being greeted by a welcome party gave her hope. She finds the new rules and all the paperwork hard, but sees language as her greatest barrier and goes to ESL class every day via Zoom. Since separating from her husband she now also juggles childcare for 4 kids. Mbeleci came to Beautiful Day because she knows she needs to work to gain self-sufficiency. She’s liked learning a new set of skills and is confident that she has the determination it takes to keep learning and be a conscientious employee.