For me, now, the U.S.A. feels the most like home, because of two things. First, because I have so many people from my family here, and second, because my integration was so quick and easy here. I don’t feel I’m so far from where I need to be in terms of integration. Every day it gets easier. Now I speak at conferences at universities about refugees and integrating into their communities. I can speak for myself in English. It’s not easy, but I don’t have any fear.

Benjamin with sons Raul, Chris, and Audry during recent trip to Denmark.

Benjamin with sons Raul, Chris, and Audry during recent trip to Denmark.

When I think of going back to Denmark I think it’s good to visit, but only to visit. I don’t think I could go there to live because if I were to go back and live there, it would be a step backwards. I can only go forwards. I started a new life, and this will be the last new life, I think.

I will be going to Congo next year to build a health clinic for my village, because they don’t have one now. I am nervous thinking about going back. Every time I think about going back, I think about being in politics. With my years in politics, I learned so many things. I think last time I wasn’t ready to be in politics, but now I feel ready to get things done, and I have so many things I can teach the people. I don’t want to go back to be in the cabinet. I need to be there, with the people in the community.

Speaking about the importance of accepting Syrian refugees in the U.S.

Speaking about the importance of accepting Syrian refugees in the U.S.

Refugees and refugee issues are very important to me, because I am a refugee and I help refugees now. There are some things I know that I want everyone in America to know. Refugees need to learn but you have to be patient with them. They are traumatized from the war. They have a commitment, but they have barriers. When you meet refugees, you don’t know who they are. You have to know that refugees are people that, tomorrow, will give something to the U.S. They are new arrivals, but they will be living in the U.S. To give money to refugees is an investment in the future. It’s an investment in the people. It’s an investment in young men and young women.

“You’re investing in the America of tomorrow.”

With the experiences I have lived and the experiences I will live, I would like to be remembered in a few ways. First, that I am a person who is open. The people in my community are my friends. I want them to know that I have done so many projects for my people. Secondly, to be a person who can look to the future and forget the past. Finally, that I like to help people. They will remember me for the things I have done in politics. I only worked four years but it was such an important period when I worked there.

“I want to be remembered for what I have done for the people. If people can remember me like this, I will have joy when I die.”

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