Brothers Joel and Narcisse Bakutibe, students at Norristown High School, are settling into a new school and a new life in Pennsylvania. With support from Liberty’s Lutheran Children and Family Service Refugee Resettlement staff and many volunteers from Trinity Lutheran Church, Fairview Village, these boys are enjoying the typical activities of ninth grade students.
The brothers arrived in May 2014 from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Volunteers, led by Yolanda Zimmerman and Joan Fichtner, began working together to prepare for their arrival in October 2013 – seven months prior.
Yolanda recalls, “We had ample time to prepare but there was much to do. We needed to locate a house, gather furniture and household items, investigate school registration, and medical care. Each person on the team took responsibility for one area and enlisted the help of others to provide meals, clothing and teaching the ways of our culture.”
Over the summer months the boys visited the Norristown High School, where they met the soccer coach and made new friends. Seeing their potential, the coach purchased the shoes, shin guards and uniforms for the boys.
“Having new friends and a sport they both love was a great way to start the school year. Parents got to know them too and have been supportive to the whole family. It’s been great to see this,” Yolanda says. “This experience has been amazing. I’ve learned how much I take for granted and how important literacy is in our daily lives. By working together to support this family, our spiritual life has been enhanced and our relationships with each other have strengthened.”