17 Apr Liberata
Born and raised in refugee camps had a huge impact on Liberata and her life. She was born in a refugee camp in Congo to Burundi refugees. They both died when Liberata was very young so she does not remember much about them except that they had been vegetable farmers. She was an only child and grew up feeling helpless and lost. No one would give her an answer when she asked how her parents died. She settled into a new life consisting strictly of survival.
When she was 23, she left the refugee camp in the Congo and moved to a refugee camp in Tanzania. She was hopeful there would be more opportunities for her, but found that life was not easier in her new home. Liberata was frustrated that there was no freedom anywhere. She was convinced this problem was throughout Africa, and that if she wanted to be free, she had to leave. Liberata arrived in Utah in September 2007 with her family of five.
Upon arrival she set out to become self-sufficient by finding employment on her own. She’s currently working at a popular local restaurant. Even though she works full time, she still struggles to cover her family’s expenses. She is a single mother of five children, one of which is disabled. “He has seizures and I have a hard time giving him the care he needs. It’s also difficult to make sure he has access to health benefits. I have to get him to clinics and hospitals which is hard with my work sometimes.” In order to get by, she relies on food stamps and support from RIC-AAU.
Liberata is very passionate about support. She looked back on her time in Africa and became upset remembering her struggles back in the refugee camps. “I was born and spent most of my life as a refugee. It was very bad for me. No one ever wanted to help me. I don’t like thinking about it, because it’s painful to look back on. My life was very difficult then. I’m happy that the US is different from Africa. People here are nice and are willing to help me when I need it.” Liberata has been receiving services at RIC-AAU for a longer period of time than a typical client. She has gone to ESL and continues to work with a case manager. She loves how she’s able to go to her case manager with any issue, and he will be there to provide her with the necessary tools to be successful. When asked about her case manager, Liberata says, “He’s everything to my family.”