"I had dreams of being something in the future but with limited resources," said Mukiza Noel.
Limited resources because starting at the age of 14, Mukiza Noel and his parents and siblings spent more than a decade fleeing from refugee camp to refugee camp, from Rwanda to Congo to Tanzania. Eventually Mukiza, through the United Nations Refugee Agency, came to Vermont -- that was in 2007. He was 29. He would lead the way for other family members to join him.
"I remember when I came it was really a very snowy day. It was on December 12th," he said
"I was at the airport the night that he arrived," recalled Judy Scott with the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program. "Mukiza got off the airplane and saw the snow and wondered what it tasted like -- was it salty? Was it sweet? If you have never been in snow you have no way of knowing."
The Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program helped Mukiza with housing, connected him with services, and eventually gave him a job.
"In the five years, the first thing I did was work. I started working, then I went to school and my wife joined me. We reunited again and we had two kids, so until now I am still working. I am going to school and I have a family," Mukiza said.
His determination and drive, Judy Scott said, is typical of the immigrant experience. "If you look at the statistics, immigrants are far more likely to start a business and hire employees than are native-born Americans and in fact immigration creates more jobs than are filled by the people who are immigrating," she said.
Mukiza's parents and several siblings have since joined him here as well and were on hand for the naturalization ceremony in Burlington Monday, when Mukiza officially became a U.S. Citizen.
Not only did Mukiza dream of one day having a country to call his own, he had another dream -- to sing the national anthem of the country that would accept him. Monday, that dream came true as well.
Friday, May 24 2013 11:30 PM EDT2013-05-25 03:30:10 GMT
A hole in the road closed one of the routes into Canada Friday.State Police say Route 5 in Derby Line is closed near Caswell Avenue because of a hole in the pavement just a couple of feet over the lineMore >>
A hole in the road closed one of the routes into Canada Friday.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:17 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:17:06 GMT
It was a storm that left residents with more damage than they could have ever imagined. "The basement has about 13 inches of water," said Bob Genter of Underhill. And preparing for the aftermath of theMore >>
Flash floods left destruction across the region. And the rain is not over. Heavy downpours left some people trapped in their neighborhoods as emergency crews work to try to clear the roads.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:54 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:54:18 GMT
Vermont State Police say the following roads have been closed due to flooding:UNDERHILL: VERMONT ROUTE 15, CILLEYHILL POKER HILL ROAD NORTH UNDERHILL STATION ROAD PAIGE ROAD DAUDLIN ROAD BROWNS TRACE,More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:20 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:20:50 GMT
As the cleanup gets underway from Thursday night's flash flooding, the focus shifts now to the broader impacts of rising rivers from around the region. All the rain so far and more to come is running intoMore >>
All the rain is running into larger streams and rivers that are moving rapidly toward flood stage.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 12:44 PM EDT2013-05-24 16:44:50 GMT
Heavy rains have caused more flooding problems around our region, and the situation could get worse as the rain continues to fall over the holiday weekend. So far, the impact has mainly been seen in roadMore >>
Heavy rains have caused more flooding problems around our region, and the situation could get worse as the rain continues to fall over the holiday weekend.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 9:51 AM EDT2013-05-24 13:51:55 GMT
Over the river and throught the woods isn't just the way to grandma's house, its the way a lot of people are having to travel just to make it to their front door. Dormant brooks and sleepy streams turnedMore >>
Strong rains Thursday flooded roads in Essex.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:25 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:25:14 GMT
A rainy Vermont City Marathon forecast isn't slowing down runners or organizers. "Well, we're going to make some liquid sunshine out of all of this rain. That's the only choice we've got right now," saidMore >>
The countdown is on to this weekend's Vermont City Marathon and final preps are underway. Those finishing touches are coming in the rain, but organizers say the weather isn't slowing things down.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:35 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:35:15 GMT
The bad weather has forced the postponement of the annual Memorial Day parade in Essex. The parade is held annually on the Saturday morning of the holiday weekend. But after all the rain and flooding damageMore >>
The bad weather has forced the postponement of the annual Memorial Day parade in Essex.More >>