My name is John Dunia, originally from Congo, now a Canadian. I am the sixth child of Reverend and Pastor Dunia and Amnazo.
I have a musical ear. I enjoy singing and playing piano, accordion, percussion and any stringed instrument, recently taking up the guitar. I also love swimming!
There are eleven children in my family, six boys and five girls.
The Great Lakes Region in Africa has undergone many problems over the last number of decades, which have resulted in wars and armed conflicts. People all over the world are aware of the problems that Congolese are facing up to now.
Some Congolese have run away from their country toward the neighbouring countries, where they live as refugees under the UNHCR mandate. In 1996, my family and I fled to Tanzania, where we stayed as refugees for 7 years. After a certain period of time, the country appeared to be peaceful. So my family and I decided to go back home to help in rebuilding the country after my father was elected as Assistant Representative of Free Methodist Church in Congo while he was still living in the Refugee Camp. Unfortunately, not much could be accomplished since various groups of people would kill each other for nonsense. People were killed often by their neighbours, who, according to me, were supposed to take care of them and live in harmony.
Suddenly in 2004 war prevailed again in BUKAVU. It was an awful time of bloodshed. I decided to flee my country and go to Burundi where I reclaimed refugee status, something that I did not think would happen again.
In Burundi, my life was a bit more secure as a refugee under the UNHCR mandate. I reported to the UNHCR the situation of the war in DR Congo which caused me to flee, and many people were killed. The conflict caused so much human tragedy and I was threatened on multiple occasions. Up to now, victims of the conflict are visible in eastern DR Congo. Therefore, much still needs to be done to alleviate the suffering. Large portions of the population from eastern DR Congo live in hatred and fear due to these events. Moreover, it is helpful to know that Bujumbura, where I was living, is not very far from Congo, thus, quite often I continued to face many threats to my life during that time. I had to learn how to protect myself and escape from harm because of all the troubles.
During that long period of sufferings, I met Paul Stevenson through Laurie Hughes in Burundi, who came to teach at my university and we became friends. I didn’t know that, through him, I would find my peaceful place, Canada. He first tried to help me immigrate to USA, but the process was not successful. Paul did what he could and got in touch with the FreeWay Free Methodist Church in order to help me find a peaceful place to live. The FreeWay FMC accepted to sponsor me and my friend. While waiting for the approval of my Canadian VISA, I tried to leave Burundi and go to Kenya, following the continued threats that I was facing to my life, but it was hard for me to cross the border for unknown reasons.
I then went to Uganda, where I volunteered for one month and later shifted to Kenya in order to wait for the Canadian Embassy to call us for the interview. I lived in Kenya for 2 years and while I was there, I was involved in the creation of an NGO called Christ’s Victory Centre.
For more information about CVC, you can take a look at: www.cvckenya.wordpress.com
I also taught in a primary school in Kenya,which helped me to gain an income and run the NGO. With the little I was making, I was able to support my living expenses and contribute to the orphans at Christ’s Victory Centre. I taught French and Computer skills to children from ages 4-16. I patiently waited and my application was approved in 2011. I left Kenya on 12 October, 2011 and landed in Canada on 13 October, 2011.
More stories to come…