Vanessa waited in the arrivals terminal of RDU airport to surprise her brother Luis as he stepped off the plane into his new home of North Carolina—the same steps she and her three daughters had taken just a few weeks earlier. After fleeing from their home in Colombia in 2018, Vanessa, her three daughters, and her brother Luis lived in a refugee camp in Ecuador while they waited for this opportunity to begin again in the U.S.
From the living room in her new apartment, Vanessa described her arrival as an exciting and emotional time:
Sometimes when you first arrive in a new place, you say to yourself, “Where do I go now…? I don’t know anyone or where I’m going…” But that is one of the most beautiful things that I hold dear to my heart is that someone was there to pick us up. You all have really made me feel at home…I was welcomed with dignity.
In his own apartment just across the backyard from his sister, Luis described his resettlement experience as “something very beautiful.” He recalled dreaming as a child of one day coming to the U.S., saying, “I love the culture here and everyone is so nice.”
With the support of our CWS employment specialists, Luis started his new job almost immediately after moving into his apartment. He described his co-workers as “welcoming and caring” and added that they’ve received him with “lots of love and appreciation.” Even when riding his bike to work, Luis loves all the people who wave and say hello even without knowing him.
Luis also expressed his gratitude for all of the support he has received from CWS:
CWS has provided us with support along the way including economic support to be here in the U.S. and is always attentive to our needs. This support is very important. When you are recently arrived, one doesn’t really know anything. CWS provides support to persons coming in as refugees, and this is good because with the help you guys provide, we can better understand things in this country. It is of much importance to have this type of help to all recently arrived persons.
Vanessa and Luis both expressed their hopes for these new chapters of their lives. Vanessa’s hopes for her daughters is that they continue their education and become professionals when they grow up. For herself, Vanessa wants to study something with number like mathematics. Luis is focused on pursuing his citizenship and one day becoming a homeowner.