My name is Patience Wa Kilongo. I am a 17 year old young boy from a Congolese family. My parents were dwelling in the town of Kalemie before coming to Tanzania. Kalemie is located in the province of Tanganyika, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I was born in a village called Sunuka which is located in the province of Kigoma here in Tanzania. I lived there before entering the Nyarugusu camp where I am currently living as a refugee. My parents passed away several years after our arrival in the camp. It takes courage to be orphan!
I have been cared for by a foster parent with four children of her own and who had to struggle to care for the education and health of all of us. My childhood was of course filled with sadness. It was a very hard life. I can’t imagine it now but it was a very tough life to the extent I started to hate myself and felt very sorry for myself.
One day, Mr. Elias Msoshi, founder of the RYENET, came by our home for mobilization. Elias began by telling me what it is like to live in a refugee camp, and the responsibilities we have as youth to find opportunities to shape our own future and that of our community. However, having grown up in such a scary environment, with all my miseries, it took a while for me to understand and get involved.
After several visits and discussions, I got inspired, informed, and connected on local issues. Beyond that, discussions helped me dig into the details so that I could understand the importance of youth in the plan for development. Now I can’t get myself off the hook – I want to play my part.
I am a well-loved and respected student at our school where I am pursuing my diploma in social work. As the living testimony of a extremely harsh life, I focus on devoting my time to mobilizing my community to help orphans become the responsible adults they have the right to become. I will keep doing my best to ensure this vision becomes a reality.
I expect to bridge differences in terms of culture, understanding, and knowledge in order to foster sustainable love and compassion. I want to gain knowledge as well as learn more about teamwork and other new things. I also want to be a responsible citizen of the world.
Most importantly, I hope that knowledge sharing between you and I will clarify what action needs to be taken to combat injustice and restore peace in my community.