Coming to America

My name is Benedicte. I fled my home with my two children and only the clothes on our backs. We went to Togo to seek shelter, not knowing what to do or what will happen to us.

After five long years of living in a refugee camp, taking one day at a time, my children and I finally arrived in Detroit where Samaritas welcomed us at the airport. We found ourselves in an apartment with appliances and things we did not know how to use.

Samaritas staff came to help us daily; bought us food, showed me around, and ensured that we were all managing.

I speak the African dialect of French language and our tribal language, but I never went to school, so I cannot read or write. Being in United States was a shock for my children and me. I attended Samaritas workshops where I learned so much about this new life I was about to start here, from financial literacy to the importance of working and being independent – even though as an African woman this was something I couldn’t comprehend.

“Now, I am a new person. I am free and the fear of tomorrow is gone. I am a full time employee at the same Chicken Shack restaurant where Samaritas placed me. I bring a paycheck home and can support myself and my children, pay rent and buy the things we need. My children are flourishing too. I continue to learn English and to take care of my family, and myself knowing that for us there is only one way to go: forward.” - Benedicte

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