Seattle Times: African refugee finds what she calls ‘home’ in Tacoma choir

In her short life, 21-year-old Nathalie Bajinya has rarely — if ever — truly had a home. In Africa she was subjected to nearly unspeakable atrocities. Once she arrived in America, she felt isolated.

What has begun to change that, she says, is the Tacoma Refugee Choir. Through music and the community the choir has fostered, Bajinya feels she has somewhere to belong. And she’s not alone in this experience.

Sitting in the Lakewood clothing-design shop she opened a little over a month ago, Bajinya told the story of how she ended up in the United States. She relayed it with an incredible candor that seemed to suck the oxygen right out of the room — at least from everyone but her.

 It involves being pressured toward prostitution and forced into homelessness before her 10th birthday. It includes going from the Democratic Republic of Congo to Kenya to try to seek help from the United Nations and spending years in a Kenyan orphanage. It entails being kidnapped, drugged and sexually assaulted again after she turned 14 and was too old to stay in the orphanage.

Click here to continue reading from the original source.