A past filled with horror becomes a future with positiveness


Photo by Leslie Najera-Rivas

While being a refugee his entire childhood in Tanzania, junior Moise Niyokwizera now resides in West Chicago.

By Leslie Najera-Rivas, Editor in Chief

After being born in Kigoma, Tanzania, life for junior Moise Niyokwizera was unexpected after becoming a refugee. 

“Being a refugee was kind of scary because you didn’t know whether your life would be gone in an instant (since) we were always living in a constant war zone,” Niyokwizera said.

The last place where Niyokwizera and his family were living before moving to the United States was blown up. 

“Living in the gym was scary because I didn’t know when the next attack would be. During that time there were a lot of genocides and we were always fearful, but I really thank my parents because they did a great job of not making it seem like it was a bad situation,” Niyokwizera said. 

After applying for immigration, Niyokwizera arrived on Dec. 7, 2007, but flew to Chicago after trying to relocate. 

“(We went) to Wheaton, then to Bartlett, I moved to Hanover Park, and now I am currently residing in West Chicago which I moved last school year,” Niyokwizera said. “That type of movement affects you for better and for worse because you get experiences that you would never get before if you stayed in one place for your entire life. I’m thankful but sad because I lost a lot of friends and family members due to violence in the war.” 

Although having failed six sports after moving, Niyokwizera doesn’t stop being positive.

“To fail a sport, you have to not be good at it and also due to size. I wasn’t really tall, but height for basketball. If you’re not tall then it is hard to make it, but that goes to show that (I) never failed to give up that is what is enduring about (me) and (I) should continue to have the same perspective and persistence as you go through things in life,” Niyokwizera said.

While enduring his childhood, Niyokwizera sent a message to his younger self.

“It’s okay, I know that you don’t really have a lot of friends right now and you’re always by yourself and always having your nose in books because you’re trying to escape the world around you. Just be okay because times will get better and you will meet a lot of new people and you’ll do something good someday,” Niyokwizera said.