Celine was born in the Republic of Benin (sounds like buh-neen), located next to Nigeria on Africa’s west coast. She studied English in college and had a clothing business. In 2016 she came to the United States to join her husband who had immigrated to Texas 6 years prior through a lottery visa program. They now have 4 children and are working toward college degrees. Celine met Pastor Solomon and became involved with the ministry when she was searching for a sewing class and a community member directed her to the MEMNT. She now helps others in the ministry learn English. We asked her to tell us about Benin and share some of her experiences adjusting to life in the US.
What do you miss about your homeland?
The social life. Those living around you become close, like family. You help each other and spend time together.
How many languages do you speak?
Four. I speak French, which is the official language of Benin, English, and two indigenous Beninese languages.
What was challenging about living in your homeland?
Medical care. In Benin, payment is always expected before receiving care.
What do you like about living in the US?
The freedom and opportunities to go to school and work even when you have kids. Medical care. Government assistance. Free, quality education.
What different freedoms do you have here than in Benin?
Privacy. Freedom of speech.
What is challenging about adjusting to life in the US?
Family life and work especially when you have children. The American English accent.
What helped you most during your first months in the US?
I met people from Togo, a country neighboring Benin, who helped a lot.
What is your experience with the Multi-Ethnic Ministry?
I enjoy the sewing class a lot. It is beyond what I expected. Pastor Solomon and the teachers, Mrs. Roberta and Mrs. Patricia, are just wonderful. I’m humbled by their service, the devotions that Pastor does, the gifts (clothes, diapers, kids’ Bible etc), and how my kids are welcomed. I was wondering how I would manage with them, but Pastor gives them papers and crayons, and the teachers play with them from time to time just to keep them busy while I’m sewing. They have taught me the practical way to serve others as Christians.