Interview for

Ebralie Mwizerwa

11/5/2020

Interviewed By:

Melita Piercy

Date Interviewed:

Audio Recording of Interview
00:00 / 1:35:04
Summary

A Rwandan refugee, Ebralie speaks about her experience migrating after the Rwandan genocide and finding happiness through religion. Her journey took her to Kenya before seeking asylum in the United States, where she moved to Nashville, Tennessee and found support through the Presbyterian Church while also pursuing higher education.

Transcript
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Additional Notes
Outline

Narrator: Ebralie Mwizerwa


Content Warning: Violence and genocide.

Summary: A Rwandan refugee, Ebralie speaks about her experience migrating after the Rwandan genocide and finding happiness through religion. Her journey took her to Kenya before seeking asylum in the United States, where she moved to Nashville, Tennessee and found support through the Presbyterian Church while also pursuing higher education.

Topics: Childhood, Education, Religion, Family, Immigration Process, Cultural Adjustment, Career, Politics, Violence


Outline

Section 1: (00:00-15:29)

  • Childhood - Born and raised in Rwanda by parents who worked as farmers.

  • Education - It was difficult to access higher education, but she became the first in her family to be educated.

  • Religion - Attended an all-girls Anglican Christian school, where her “faith took roots.”

Section 2: (15:29-40:20)

  • Religion, Family - Parents were not Christian, but she was baptized and incorporated Protestant and Catholic culture into her life.

  • Appreciates quiet devotion of Catholicism and excitement of Protestant devotion.

  • Religion - God is the same across cultures, even if there are other differences that exist in language or religious practice.

  • Religion - Most missionaries in Rwanda were from Europe, so the only American church she knew was the Seventh Day Adventists.

  • Viewed her migration to America as God’s decision.

  • Religion - Her husband and around 100 people from the Nashville First Presbyterian Church came to greet her and her 5 children at the airport, and they prayed at the terminal.

Section 3: (40:20-1:09:50)

  • Immigration Process - First moved from Rwanda to Kenya, where she did her bachelor's degree.

  • Religion, Cultural Adjustment - When her husband moved to Nashville, he ran into an American missionary they helped in Nairobi on the fourth day.

  • She connected him with the Presbyterian Church, where he stayed at the house reserved for the pastor.

  • Religion, Career - Started a ministry, Legacy Mission, to help the Lost Boys, who were 4 refugee boys from Sudan.

  • Immigration Process, Career - Resettlement agencies do not provide long-term help, so Legacy Mission aims to provide longer social support.

  • Politics - The COVID-19 Pandemic and 9/11 have made it more difficult for refugees to come to America.

Section 4: (1:09:50-)

  • Violence, Immigration Process - Rwandan genocide occurred in 1994, and they moved afterwards to Kenya, where there were more opportunities.

  • Immigration Process - Stayed in a refugee camp for a short time, then her husband came to the US as an asylee while she and her children came two years later as resettled refugees.

  • Education - Applied for graduate school at Vanderbilt while completing resettlement process, and was accepted.

  • Religion - Returned to Rwanda several times on mission trips, which helped with healing.

  • Politics, Religion - Despite the antagonization of refugees in politics, refugees and immigrants are a blessing.