Maman Grace And Théo: Finding Each Other After Ten Years Apart
Giulia Balestra
Posted by Giulia Balestra
Mar 13 18

Théo was a bright child and gifted football player with big dreams and ambitions for the future. He was 8 years old when he left his hometown in the South Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It was 1996 and generalized political unrest forced many families to leave the country. 

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Maman Grace And Théo: Finding Each Other After Ten Years Apart

 

Théo was a bright child and gifted football player with big dreams and ambitions for the future. He was 8 years old when he left his hometown in the South Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It was 1996 and generalized political unrest forced many families to leave the country. Théo, his mother, and his two older sisters crossed the Tanzanian border to find refuge in Nyarugusu refugee camp, home to over 150,000 forcibly displaced people. For the family life in Nyarugusu was not easy, but for some time it felt safe, or safer, than home.

Théo was not a common child and his talents did not go unnoticed. After several threats and a poisoning attempt, in 2008 Théo decided to leave the camp. The first place he went to was the port city of Mwanza, on the shore of Lake Victoria in Northern Tanzania. Safer, but still, this was not the place where Théo could see his dreams and ambitions come true and the journey continued. He travelled to Zambia, to Malawi, and then South Africa. His long pilgrimage ended there, in South Africa, the day that police caught him without documents, arrested and deported him to Lubumbashi in the DRC.

During the years and across the countries he travelled to, Théo kept thinking about his family in Tanzania. In February 2017 he decided he could not wait any longer and made his way back to Nyarugusu refugee camp. Théo searched the camp only to find that a lot had changed in Nyarugusu. Rumors said that his mother and two sisters had been resettled to the United States the year before, in February 2016.

Everything changed the day that Théo heard about REFUNITE’s family tracing platform.

A few weeks later, Théo and Maman Grace spoke on the phone for the first time in ten years.

How are you maman? And how are my little sisters Jeanne et Bénie?”

Maman Grace is now living in Texas, in the United States, with Théo’s older sisters Jeanne et Bénie. Théo is hoping to be reunited physically with the rest of the family soon.

 

25th February 2018.

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