Thank you to the Detroit Metro Times for this awesome feature! Below is just a preview, find the entire article here.
In 2013, as political violence in Burundi grew, the Tutsi minority suffered persecution under the Hutu-led government, and hundreds of thousands of Burundians fled the country.
Many landed in neighboring East African nations, but Nadia Nijimbere looked to Detroit. Her sister-in-law previously fled violence and civil war in Burundi in 2009, and received shelter and support from the Detroit Freedom House in Southwest. The temporary home for victims of political violence who are seeking asylum appeared to be the best of her limited options, so Nijimbere left for Detroit in 2013. Upon arriving at Freedom House, she learned she was pregnant with twins.
“It was kind of hard arriving to a place where you don’t know anybody. But I knew at least I got to a safe place,” Nijimbre tells Metro Times. “Freedom House is my forever family. They helped me as much as they can, and got me everything a pregnant woman could need.”
In 2015, her husband Hamissi Mamba joined her, and the newly united family began putting together their new life in Detroit — one that now includes plans for Baobab Fare, an East African restaurant, market, and juice bar on the city’s east side.