Mmbanga was born in Fizi, a village in DRCongo near Lake Tanganyika, the world’s longest freshwater lake. Her family were farmers, growing corn, cassava, potatoes, and peanuts. Farming the rocky, mountainous soil was backbreaking work. As a child she remembers playing a fun game tossing stones into the air and grabbing others before the first ones hit the ground. But mostly life was hard.
When she was 30, Mmbanga fled Fizi to escape civil war. She traveled by boat down Lake Tanganyika to Tanzania where she settled in the Nyarugusu Refugee Camp. She remained there 24 years, raising five children.
Mmbanga was eager to leave the camp, but didn’t want to return to DRCongo. “Life is too hard there,” she said. “And the government took everything.” She was excited when she was accepted to the US. She arrived in Rhode Island six months ago with three of her children and likes it very much. “The people are friendly here,” she says. “No problems, no stress. Only peace.”
Mmbanga completed our job training program in December and is now looking for permanent work. To succeed at a job, she feels it’s important to be friendly and respectful. “If your boss tells you to do something, then do it,” she says. We’re eager to see what she’ll do next