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Congolese refugee families sharing their story with Missoula - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Congolese refugee families sharing their story with Missoula

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MISSOULA - It has been about a year since the International Rescue Committee began resettling communities of refugee families in Missoula, now they are giving back and saying thank you to their new home in the Treasure State.

Several of the Congolese refugee families who resettled in Missoula in the past year are preparing to put on a play on Sunday, Sept. 17 to share their culture with Western Montana.

Director Joel Kambale says the production tells a story about two families in Africa and stays true to their culture, "there is a play, we have also, a dance for kids, dance for adults, and different activities, there will be questions after the play,” Kambale said.

 “This is one of the children’s dance songs, ‘Viva Africa,’ it is by this guy Eddie Kenzo. A lot of this is about pride...I looked up some of the translations, pride in homeland, or the grace of God,” said Kate Morris a staff member with the Zootown Arts Community Center. “And then the adults dance to three songs, there is a traditional dance called Bamongo.”

The performers say sharing their culture is key goal of the show, "you know, in Africa, we have some cultures. So, we want Missoula to know about our culture,” said performer Gilbert Hategek.

The families faced large obstacles when they moved their lives to Montana.

 “It is a hard change I think for everybody coming from overseas and coming here and making those adjustments weather wise, lifestyle wise, any other way, and this is their saying thank you,” commented Soft Landing volunteer Laine Vonstein.

You can catch the performance from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Sentinel High School auditorium on Sept. 16. The event is free, but donations will be accepted to help support the families.

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