Thursday, May 27, 2004

FROM CONGO WITH LOVE

Being a refugee is one of life’s most traumatic experiences. When you move from one country to another, as a refugee, you will never feel entirely at home in the new culture. But Mugicho Aime` Ruigira (popularly known as Aime`) has made the most of a challenging situation.

Aime` left his homeland in the Congo because of the civil war between the forces of the late President Mobutu Sese Seko and Laurent Kabila’s rebels; and has never looked back. The revolt that brought Kabila to power erupted when the Zairen Tutsis took up arms against the Mobutu government’s plan to strip them of their land and force them to leave the country. As a result of the rebellion, law and order collapsed in the country, the national army disintegrated, Kabila came to power and renamed Zaire “The Democratic Republic of Congo”. Aime` fled to Tanzania; and from there, he moved to Thailand as a refugee.

He came to Australia four years ago to start a new life. And having lived and loved and improved his English in South Australia, he has taken to the Australian way of life like ducks to water. “I like Australia – it’s really very peaceful here” he says “the people are nice, loving, caring, and friendly”.

Aime` has a well refined taste in fashion and is always impeccably dressed. He likes sports, and the finer things in life; including popular music. And plays soccer at weekends "Just for fun”.

Aime` is extremely flexible in his approach to the job market. He has worked in a number of part-time positions in Adelaide (and continues to do so), “Just to keep the body and soul together”, as he puts it, “What I really need at the moment is a full-time job”.

Nevertheless, Aime` is the first to admit that finding a full-time job is becoming a “big problem” for African refugees in South Australia, even for the well qualified professionals like lawyers, accountants, engineers, doctors and teachers.

Aime` is still “working and studying “ and hoping for the best.
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