"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.
Monday, December 9 2013 11:25 PM EST2013-12-10 04:25:30 GMT
A child playing with a lighter was responsible for a Champlain, New York apartment fire. That's according to the Champlain Fire Department. Firefighters arrived at this apartment complex at 25 SpruceMore >>
A child playing with a lighter was responsible for a Champlain, New York apartment fire. That's according to the Champlain Fire Department. More >>
Monday, December 9 2013 11:12 PM EST2013-12-10 04:12:04 GMT
An equipment fire kept crews busy in Middlebury Monday. About 30 firefighters responded to a blaze at the Champlain Valley Equipment facility on Exchange Street. The Middlebury fire chief says there'sMore >>
An equipment fire kept crews busy in Middlebury Monday. More >>
Monday, December 9 2013 10:29 PM EST2013-12-10 03:29:07 GMT
Police say a woman walked out of the WalMart in Williston with two stolen computers Monday.The suspect was caught on surveillance cameras. The HP Pavilion computers are worth more than $1,000. If youMore >>
Police say a woman walked out of the Wal Mart in Williston with two stolen computers Monday.More >>
Monday, December 9 2013 10:26 PM EST2013-12-10 03:26:26 GMT
South Burlington is using a grant to tackle the slew of vacant properties near the airport.The city will use $17,000 for community outreach and research to make a plan for the homes. They were purchasedMore >>
South Burlington is using a grant to tackle the slew of vacant properties near the airport.More >>
Monday, December 9 2013 8:51 PM EST2013-12-10 01:51:48 GMT
When it comes to education, teachers say they know what it takes to motivate students, and also what doesn't work -- including standardized testing, cookie cutter curriculums and what NEA President MarthaMore >>
The Vermont NEA unveiled its "Agenda for Student Success" proposal Monday, and it points to a new computer education program at one high school as the type of learning kids need.More >>
Monday, December 9 2013 8:43 PM EST2013-12-10 01:43:09 GMT
"We are trying to create a few new affordable housing units so that people have a chance to move beyond shelter and regain their independence," said Rita Markley, Executive Director of the Committee onMore >>
COTS reaching out to Old North End neighbors in the development of new affordable housing and a daystation.More >>
Monday, December 9 2013 8:32 PM EST2013-12-10 01:32:17 GMT
"It's nothing you ever expect to ever happen to you," said Linda Zeno.Zeno and her husband, Steve, have lived in their South Burlington home for three decades and always felt safe. Until an early morningMore >>
A South Burlington couple came face to face with an intruder lurking in their bedroom, and now they're demanding stiffer sentences for repeat offenders.More >>
Monday, December 9 2013 8:24 PM EST2013-12-10 01:24:58 GMT
An Enfield, New Hampshire man is dead. And a Killington driver has been charged in connection with the death. It happened Saturday night on the Killington Road. Police say 26-year-old Kyle Wilson wentMore >>
A Vermont man admits being behind the wheel during a fatal accident in Killington but denies wrong-doing.More >>