Former Refugees tell of arrival

Alphonse Kayiranga works for Catholic Charities of the Texas Panhandle.

Hasan Usmanâ??s first rented house doesnâ??t exist anymore. Itâ??s now a parking lot across from the First Baptist Church in Amarillo. He arrived from Ethiopia with his wife in 1981. His first job was working at a truck stop on I-40. He says, "it was minimum wage, which was $3.50, but that was big to me. I didnâ??t come over here to look for money. It was a pleasure to get a job with freedom."ã??

Alphonse Kayiranga works at Catholic Charities of the Texas Panhandle. ã??He escaped from the Rwanda genocide in the Nineties, but his entire family was killed. He escaped when he was only 21. He says, "My life is built on the faith of Christ."

Refugee Services of Texas also organizes the arrival of refugees, offering ESL classes and other services. The organization is working to reunite families.

Director Fabian Talamente says, "I think one of the hardest things is families are separated. Thatâ??s probably one of the things a lot of refugees struggle with, is theyâ??re separated from their families.

Dim Kim is of the Chin People in Burma. Her husband was about to be forced into the Army. They fled five years ago and have recently bought a house in Amarillo.

She marvels at her first experience in her own home. She says, "The first person I see, the ice cream seller girl. She was looking in and she was smiling and then itâ??s like, you know, and we never see that kind of expression before. And itâ??s like, oh, this country. Everybodyâ??s smiling."