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From “The View from the Porch,” Fall 2014
One Family’s Story – Kiriza Bade Zihaliwa & Bora Veronique Kafarhire
The journey to provide a safe and decent place to call home has taken Kiriza Bade, his wife Bora Veronique and their children across oceans and over many miles, but as a home of their own became a reality, they couldn’t be more grateful for this chance to build a better life for their family. Hard working and responsible, the well educated parents want only the best for their family and were eager to move from their crowded four room apartment in Chelsea into their own home.
Kiriza came to the USA in 2009 from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Granted asylum in the United States, he found himself separated from his wife and three young children, daughter Eleondre, son Alein Raph, and daughter Manuela. Doing everything he could to bring them to the United States, it took three long months before they were able to join him. Once reunited, he left the generous hospitality of his brother-in-law’s home, where he had been staying, and found a small apartment where he and his family could be together. The joy they experienced reunited and the deep appreciation they felt for the safe harbor provided by their new country, Kiriza and Bora decided to have another child who would be born American. To their delight, they became the proud parents of twins and, to honor their country of birth, named them decidedly American names – Jennifer and Benjamin.
While in the Congo, both Kiriza and Bora had professional careers – he in Marketing, she in Law. Once in the United States, the couple was faced with a language barrier and immediately applied themselves to learn English. At the same time, providing for their family was paramount, and Kiriza worked two manual labor jobs, Bora worked as a Certified Nurse Assistant, and Kiriza continued his education at Bunker Hill Community College. Just last year, Kiriza was able to take a new job in Human Services and plans to apply his education to furthering his career in this field.
Firmly believing that education and community are critically important, Kiriza volunteers in his children’s schools and is active in the neighborhood. As he describes it, it offers him the opportunity to “use his brain” to become an involved citizen. He attends monthly civic meeting, organizes school events, and is often seen in the classroom.
For Kiriza and Bora, the last few years have only reaffirmed the joy to be found in a home of their own. They completed the required 360 hours building their home and the homes of others, volunteered during the Home Builders Blitz 2014 and, settling into their new home on Acton Street, are dedicated to becoming part of the Habitat for Humanity community. Their journey has, finally, brought them home.