Catholic Charities Home > Refugee Immigration Services > New Mainers

Stories Among Us

A photo-story conducted by multimedia storyteller Iman Lipumba.

Speciose Nionkuru
“I have to improve my English first. I’m trying to see what degree I can get to have the job I had. Don’t want to just be RN (registered nurse), I worked in hospitals before – that’s what I like. So that’s what I’ll do.”
Continue reading…
Ruben Ruganza
“Here, I don’t have the status I once had in Africa. I had a big house, with many many employees – a driver, people to tend to the gardens, cooks, someone to wash my car. I had many things there, unlike now. But here, I have something I never had before – security.”
Continue reading…
Eslacrides Ruiz
“You can see a difference between my paintings here and in Cuba. I paint with more light now, I’m better fed so I’m happier.”
Continue reading…
Nawar Alobaidi
“In Baghdad the streets are filled with people until midnight. After work people go to coffee shops and talk for hours, they enjoy life. It’s not like that here (in Portland), but it’s safe."
Continue reading…
Sumia Yousif
“In Portland, people may be working, and family is far apart, so it’s not as fun as it was back home. However, it’s easier to fast in Maine, because it’s colder. In Africa it’s hot, so you feel hungry and thirsty easily.” (Talking about Muslim holy month of Ramadan, and Eid holiday)
Continue reading…
Ali and Nizar Farid
“Home is not where you are from, it’s where you are welcomed.”
Continue reading…

As the only Refugee Resettlement agency in Maine, Catholic Charities Refugee and Immigration Services, offers resources and support that help refugees and people granted asylum, start to build a self-sufficient life in Maine. New Mainers come here ready to  contribute to our communities, they are skilled professionals, talented artists, community leaders and entrepreneurs, who overcome language, cultural, emotional and economic barriers as a result of immigrating to a new place. Some new Mainers we’ve worked with go on to join our staff and help other immigrants rebuild their lives.

In our work, we are privileged to encounter individuals with many different stories and pathways to Maine, and we’ve found that whether one is a new or US-born Mainer, what unites us all is the desire for a life of security, opportunity, family and overall wellness.

We all belong here, and these are the stories of a few of us.