“One thing people don’t know about The Democratic Republic of Congo is that it’s actually a very wealthy country, however its wealth has become the source of its current problems”.
– Sophia Migabo
Sophia Migabo is a Communication major at The University of Maryland College Park, attending classes at The Universities at Shady Grove. Migabo, 26 is originally from The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), born in the country’s capitol Kinshasa in 1989.
Soon after her birth Sophia’s father, who was a military general was stationed in the eastern province of Congo in a town called Goma. Because of his honorable military status, Sophia and her family lived a life of luxury in their beautiful 5 bedroom home equipped with a maid, a chef, a chauffeur, and even security guards.Guests who came to visit their home showered the Migabo family with presents, and food, and sometimes even livestock like goats and chickens who grazed upon their farm.
Sophia wanted to stress the fact that her father was different from other generals. Mr. Migabo did not want to live in a government house like other military families, nor did he feel the need to drive the fanciest car in town, or buy million dollar dress suits. He was a family man, and his priorities were geared towards justice and providing for his family.
12 years later things began to change for young Sophia. It was 1997 when the Rwandan government overthrew long time president of DRC, Mobutu Sese Seko. This brought chaos, violence, and death for the Congolese people. Sophia at only 8 years old had to move back to Kinshasa where things were a bit safer, and it wasn’t long until she hopped on a plane to the United States of America.
At age 15 she began her life in America without speaking a lick of English. Sophia stayed with family in California for a short time, and then settled down in Atlanta, Georgia where she graduated from Decatur High School in 2008. Finally she moved to Maryland where she completed her Associate’s Degree at Montgomery College and transferred to USG to earn her Bachelors of Communication with the University of Maryland.
Sophia is one of my dear friends here at USG, and since getting to know her I have become more and more fascinated with the culture and learned a few fun facts about the Democratic Republic of Congo:
- The official spoken language is French
- The primary religion practiced is Christianity
- Cooking with palm oil is a MUST
- Most Congolese people strongly prefer hot meals over cold meals
- Most Congolese people do NOT want their foods touching on the plate
- There are three wedding “challenges” a man must pass before he gets final approval to marry the bride
More importantly I learned that the DRC is a country that is very wealthy because of it’s oil and other natural resources, and because of its riches the country has undergone devastation for many years. I look forward to learning more about Congolese culture, history, and traditions. Sophia is one of many international students here at USG who has a fascinating story to share. There is so much to learn from students and their culture just by asking them a few simple questions.
Thanks Sophia for sharing your story!
I Love it!