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Japhety Ngabireyimana was born in a refugee camp in Tanzania, where people from different communities would gather, share food and tell cultural stories. Although there was not much money, the families had something that couldn't be taken away - LOVE!
He lived in the camp until age 8, when his family came to the United States. Japhety had to learn a new language and how to fit into a different culture, including dealing with negative stereotypes that people had about Africans. His classmates bullied him, which made him feel ashamed of his African identity, clothing and language. His family also lived in a small apartment, drove an old car and barely had enough to eat. Life was hard.
Eventually, things got easier and his family started a farm that helped them improve their lives.
He recognized that a lot of hard work and dedication were needed to pursue the "American Dream." And even though he encountered a lot of hardship that made him feel small, Japhety turned those struggles around to value himself, his African culture and his resiliency.