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Welcoming in Muscatine: Ketsia

WRQC partnered with Muscatine to assist with Ukrainian refugees and launch its first pilot office – it also become a place of refuge for Ketsia.


Time Running Out

On August 25th, Ric Smith received a phone call from Laura Fontaine, WRQC Executive Director. One of Fontaine’s former interns, Ketsia Faraja, desperately needed a place to live. A mistake in paperwork had delayed Ketsia’s visa extension.

Ketsia is from South Kivu Bukavu in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She had just finished her degree at Augustana College in International Business and Political Science and secured a job with the International Relief Committee in Chicago.

She applied for a visa extension to work for two years here in the States, but the extension was denied. Then, she had to re-apply, and the process will take up to 90 days.

Finding Refuge in Muscatine

Suddenly, Ketsia’s plans were thrown off course. She found herself without a place to live. Never having been a refugee, Ketsia became an accidental refugee of tangled bureaucracy.

She made contact with her former employer at WRQC, Laura Fontaine. Laura had been working with a group in Muscatine for several months to resettle immigrants. She called Ric Smith, who then reached out to several people in the Muscatine group who had offered housing. The response was quick and gracious. Within 24 hours, Ketsia was able to move into an apartment in Muscatine.

Ketsia will be in Muscatine until her visa extension comes through and she can move to Chicago to work for the IRC.

Muscatine residents were invited to a welcome potluck on Friday, September 9. That evening, Muscatine officially welcomed Ketsia along with the Luka family from Ukraine and Pascal Ramadhani.


Written by Ric Smith

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