Many refugees from all over the world are living their American dream right here in Duval County.
Tuesday is World Refugee Day. It’s a day dedicated to raising awareness of the plight of refugees throughout the globe.
First Coast News spent the evening with a local refugee family from the Congo in Africa.
The family said refugees are not looking for a handout; they are searching for a future.
Mukamuvara Umamariya sat alongside three of her eight children. Her husband Habimana Francosi was away at work.
Umamariya doesn’t speak much English, so her 13-year-old daughter, Ingabir, helped her communicate.
More than 20 years ago, Umamariya and her husband fled their war torn home in the Congo with four small children, all under the age of five; the youngest was just two-months-old.
“They were so scared,” Ingabir translated.
The family fled to Rwanda, where they lived in a refugee camp, void of basic necessities, including water.
So, they had to walk four hours to quench their thirst.
Angelique, a petite, soft-spoken woman, recalls walking, along with her younger sister, Diane, for clean water.
“You have to put it on your head and your back,” Angelique said.
Her 10-year-old brother, Daniel, didn’t have to help fetch the water but he did have to wait for his sisters to return.
“It was so hard. Everyday we got thirsty,” Daniel said.
After living at the refugee camp for 20 years, the family of eight, was granted asylum and resettled in an apartment in Jacksonville. That was three years ago. It was also the first time the family saw running water.
“It’s like magic,” Angelique said.
The family said life is different now. They are being assisted with resettlement by Lutheran…