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Feature Wed Mar 02 2011
by Devin Katayama
This is the story of Chicagoans Mohamed Ali Kabba and his sister Fatima, refugees from Sierra Leone.
Every year thousands of refugees migrate to the United States. In 2009, the Chicago area accepted around 2,500 new refugees alone. Organizations like Interfaith Refugee and Immigrant Ministries here in Chicago support them for three months. In that time refugees work fast to learn English, find a job and assimilate before their funding ends and they make the leap into American culture.
Mohamed remembers boarding a plane leaving Africa, not knowing his destination, only that it was the better option. He was told on the flight that he would be landing in Chicago. And even though he'd spent his entire life in Sierra Leone, he knew at least one word associated with the city: Bulls.
Mohamed and Fatima now live in a small, cluttered apartment in West Rogers Park. And they feel fortunate.
Interview with Mohamed & Fatima Ali Kabba.
Devin Katayama is an independent audio producer from Northern California who now lives in Chicago. More of his work can be found at audiocollected.org.
This feature is supported in part by a Community News Matters grant from The Chicago Community Trust and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. More information here.