Maria was the 6th of 12 children in her family and was raised in Cape Verde, West Africa. She became a social worker and served ill children and elderly people before coming to the United States in 1982.
As so many immigrants have to do, she had to start her career over again. While learning English, Maria worked her way up from a shrimp factory laborer, to supervisor, to waitress. After arriving in Maine in 1989 she began to work at the hospital and started as a cashier while attending more schooling and becoming a CNA, and later a respiratory therapist and cardiology technician. This is the work she continues to enjoy today.
Maria is a natural community organizer and in 2002 she founded Amigos de Mente (Friends of Mind) which is an independent organization that gets medical resources into the hands of people who need them. This organization also hosts an annual party on Peaks Island called Immigrant Reunion, (this year on September 3, 2016).
Maria was recognized as a Trailblazer this year at the Empower the Immigrant Woman conference.
Music: "Criolas" by Cape Verde Shore
Aubine Ntibandetse was born in Burundi where she lived until she was three. When her family fled the violence there they were refugees until they moved to Europe. She was raised in Brussels, Belgium until the age of fifteen. In 2011 she came directly to Portland, ME with her step-mother and two younger brothers. Her father has just recently been able to join them and she sings a special Father's Day song for him, in celebration.
Aubine shares thoughts about her life in Maine and also highlights Portland's World Refugee Day which was celebrated on June 4th, though the international day of recognition will be Monday, June 20th.
Music: Aubine sings Celine Dion's "S'il Sufficient D'amier" and closes the show with "Sitya Loss" by Eddy Kenzo, (click on it to see the joyful video).
Germain is originally from Democratic Republic of Congo. He studied journalism and communications in college and then taught English and worked for several NGOs. More recently, he earned a Master's Degree in Conflict Resolution and Coexistance from Brandeis University in Waltham, MA.
He volunteers with the Portland Center for Restorative Justice.
Music: "I Miss My Friend" sung by Darryl Worley (2002). Click on song title, above, to hear it, as it was disconnected from the recording below. However, Germain's favorite version of this song was originally sung by Tammy Waynette and George Jones.
Dec 16 Raphael Mabiala (DRC).