Devine (Congo)

DevineA single mother of four (single mom of five… see update below) has arrived safely to Memphis, TN with her children.  Her name is Devine.  She looks forward to trying to start her life in America but is a bit nervous on how she will continue to take care of all of her children in a place she is so unfamiliar with.  She will have to provide for her children and herself on her own by August when the initial resettlement funds run out for her case. Devine realizes that she must save everything she can so that she can try and pay her monthly rent (which is about $500 per month for most of the apartments that Memphis refugees currently live in, despite there poor condition).  She has been separated from her husband through the refugee process. She was living in the refugee camp for so long she ended up marrying another refugee gentleman in the camp and had several children. (Life goes on when you are years stuck in a camp in a country that does not recognize you and does not allow you to work). Since their marriage was not state recognized because they were stateless, Devine and the children had no proof the husband/father was the husband/father. So Devine’s refugee case came up for her and her children to have an opportunity to come to the US. She had to come to the US as a single mother with just a 6th grade education and no English skills. She is happy to have a chance here in America but knows she has a lot of work to do in order to succeed with her children. She very much wants her husband to follow her to the US if God makes a way.

Devine walks with a severe limp.  Asha’s Refuge is working to find out what can be done medically to help treat her physical situation.  It seems that one leg may be shorter than the other and has been this way since she was a child.  Devine has a lot of hip pain most probably nerve pain from compensating with her leg issue.  We will need a few good doctors to help us to best assess her case and work towards physical therapy and the overall best solution.  Here is another client where it will be great to have an Asha’s Refuge volunteer assist us with getting her back and forth to the doctors visits.  The blessing, you meet a new friend!

Devine is not so concerned for her own disability but more for each of her children’s well being. Take a look at the picture we have here.  How old do you think the oldest boy child, Bertrand, pictured in blue pants and the printed shirt is?  How old do you think the girl child, Alice, is who is pictured in the purple and blue shirt?  It might take you by surprise (like it tearfully did us) to know that Bertrand is 16 years old (the same age as my now 11th grade son, Matthew).  Alice is 13/14 years old.  The boy in a yellow collared shirt, Response, is 11 this June.  And little Bruno there in the plaid shirt is 3.  Most people do not understand the magnitude of what happens when a child does not get enough food.  They often do not grow to their fullest potential.  Bertrand, Alice and Response have struggled for a large part of their life to have adequate food.  When Asha’s Refuge got word that this family was struggling to have food here in Memphis, TN…in America, we jumped in to assist them.

Asha’s Refuge and Collierville Bible Church in Collierville has provided this family with a large toiletry bin filled with toiletries and household items, paper products, dishes, towels, cleaning products and some bags of non-perishable food items.  We also were able to give the family a Kroger gift card to allow them to pick out the groceries they prefer to eat (usually produce).   We are so thankful to those small groups (LDS Churches too) who always help us keep the toiletry and household bins ready to go for families in difficult situations.  God is so good!!  It was truly great to grab the bin and surprise this mom with so many things she needs.

The children will wait to go to school in August since we have just finished up our school year.  Meanwhile, World Relief (the resettlement agency) will be working with this family to help them get all their immunizations complete.  The children all need clothes.  While Bertrand is 16 years old, he will not fit into what an American typical 16 year old might wear.  Alice and Response are also much smaller than the average children in America their age.  Bruno looks like he will be able to wear size 3T and 4T clothing.  Can you help us cloth these children?  Please consider a donation to Asha’s Refuge so that we can keep helping families like Devine’s.

Update 3/14/18

Update: 01/2018

We discovered Devine was actually about a month or so pregnant when she first came to the US and did not know it! Her pregnancy went well and baby Kayla is here. Mom and baby are happy but miss dad/husband. They are praying that their family reunification process will speed up. She talks to her husband often and misses him very much.


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