Refugees “just dumped off” in Chattanooga; try to communicate with neighbors

This must be refugee-news-story-dump day.  Just when I have other things I have to do, and thought I could get away from the computer, along comes one more story that should be posted today (hat tip to a friend from TN).

From the Times Free Press:

Evariste Simbananiye has a furnished apartment but prefers squatting on the floor. Photo: Dan Henry

Evariste Simbananiye lives in a fully furnished apartment in Boynton Terrace but prefers squatting, as he did in his native Burundi, to sitting in a chair.

Simbananiye, 64, is among a handful of refugees from at least three countries who live in or near the public housing facility. They’ve been there since 2007, but Boynton residents say some refugees still don’t have the support they need to adjust to a new culture and language.

Another Burundi refugee has had so many apartment fires that some residents say he shouldn’t use the stove. Instead of using a pot or pan to hold his cooking food, he holds it directly over the electric burner, much as he would have done with a fire in his homeland.

Before coming to the United States under a federal resettlement program, these refugees may only have known life in a refugee camp. Once here, they often cling to their old way of life because they can’t communicate well enough to understand and adapt to cultural differences.

“They were brought here and just dumped off,” said Bennie Haynes, president of the Boynton Terrace Resident Council.

The result can be friction with neighbors, and even public safety or health problems.

One of the things Boynton Terrace residents say needs to be communicated is not to use the bathroom in public places like the elevator.

So, I wonder why Bridge Refugee Services is closed (did the State Department shut them down? hmmmm!)

Two people from Burundi and one from the Sudan live in Boynton Terrace, said Haynes. Two families from Cuba and another from the Ukraine live in Boynton or other public housing buildings, according to Bridge Refugee Services.

The federal program to relocate refugees has closed, so no more are expected to come, said Marina Peshterianu, coordinator of Bridge Services.

Thousands of refugees fled war-torn Burundi in 1972. Some spent 30 years in refugee camps before being resettled here and elsewhere.

Between 2005 and 2008, Bridge brought about 80 of the Burundian refugees to Chattanooga.

Most have since relocated to other areas, said Peshterianu.

Simbananiye is 64 years old, has been here for going on 6 years, is unemployed and can’t speak English!!!!  He obviously lives off of the kindness of the US  and Tennessee taxpayers!

So, I guess one day we will be paying for his nursing home care too and the poor nurses won’t understand what the heck he is saying.  So much for Christian charity brought to you by Church World Service!

Endnote:  Back in 2007, Bridge, a subcontractor of CHURCH WORLD SERVICE, was the subject of one of the first posts I wrote at RRW and it was about the agency filing a lawsuit (with CAIR and the ACLU) to block the FBI from getting some information it wanted on Iraqi refugees who had passed through Tennessee.

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