Six years ago, David Kenene was welcomed to the U.S. by World Relief Memphis. His eight children, however, had been left behind during the immigration process. After years of waiting, he was finally able to reunite with them this month. This is his story, as told to our summer intern Cierra Hunter.
I am Ugandan. I came to Memphis as a refugee. World Relief, they helped me a lot. I remember they took me to Christ Community; I went with Brother Andrew [a World Relief staff member]. When I reached Christ Community [a not-for-profit community health center] I was thinking about my family, the way I had left them and thinking about how they are doing now.
The next day we went to the World Relief office. It was my first time there. They asked, “Do you have family?” I told them yes, I have family. My problem is that I have 8 children. When I was doing my interviews with UNHCR in Nairobi I listed only 4 children when I have 8. I was told by a friend over there, “Never say that you have many kids because they don’t want people who have many kids. You will never be resettled; you will have to stay here.” That’s why I listed only 4 kids.
I didn’t eat those days because I was thinking about my family.
When I was at World Relief, I explained to them what was going on.
Katie said, “It’s okay, David. Can we pray?”
I said, “Yes, we can pray.”
Katie introduced me to Catherine, my caseworker, and Courtney, who told me, “We are going to work on this issue.”
I told them their names and how old they are. They told me, “Okay, we are going to work on it.” I was given hope that they were going to work on my concern so then I started working on what they asked me to do.
I thank God and I thank those people. They did a good job, they did a good job, they did a good job.
When asked about his hopes for his kids as they are reunited David shared: I want them to continue school.