...refugee, professional football player, BGM gardener and future evangelist!
I don't remember much before the refugee camp. I was born in DR Congo, Lubumbashi. Everything else that I know about my pre-refugee camp experience I've just heard from my parents and my older siblings.
Words cannot really give you the whole picture of what the refugee camp was like but I'll try my best to give you a picture. Imagine being taken to a place which looks like the middle of no where, surrounded by long thick bushes and very tall trees. Because I was very young, I didn't really understand what was going on but I can remember seeing my big brother crying as he said, "they've brought us here to die.”
It was very hard to sleep at night because it rained all night and we had to wake up and wrap all of our blankets up because the roof was leaking. During the day we would see at least 5 people being picked up and taken to a far away hospital because they’d been bitten by snakes.
I can go on and on and tell you experience after experience but just to make a long story short, as time went by, more refugees started to come and fill the camp. We had refugees from Rwanda, DR Congo, Angola, Burundi and at one point we had a few Somalians.
All these people started to build houses and we had a little market. My dad and my brother in law built a Church, but we didn't have a pastor and so we prayed and God sent us one.
We applied to come to Australia in 2003. Finally when it was time for us - after being rejected a couple of times – the authorities said that one person had to stay behind because there were too many of us in our family. It was decided that either my sister or I should stay back. My sister has autism so she was targeted a lot by the resettlement officers and she chose to stay. Since then, my parents have tried everything they know to do to get her here. Now they've kind of given up and the only solution they can think of is going back to the refugee camp and staying there with her.
I was 12 years old when we came to Australia, on the 8th of May, 2007.
Whilst I was in the refugee camp I loved playing football and that was what kept me out of trouble. When I came to Australia, I went around looking for junior football clubs and I found one near my house. In 2009 I played for Balga soccer club. My school coach watched me play, thought I was good enough to play premier league and took me to Stirling lions, where I did some trials for the state league under 18’s. I was 15 years old at that time.
I played one season with them when a friend told me about the NTC (which stands for National Training Centre). I went to the trials and I wasn't expecting to get in as there were about 700 players there, all fighting for just a few spots. My age group was the toughest with just 3 spots for 300 players but thank God I was one of the 3.
I played in the academy for two years and at the age of 18 just when graduated from school, I was offered a contract by Perth Glory youth. I played for about a year in the reserves but I was not playing in my preferred position and so when my contract expired I left and I went back to Stirling, this time in the senior squad.
Around that time I gave my life to God and I promised God some things and my performance started to get better and I started to attract agents and other teams. Perth Glory started to monitor my performance and I was told I would be offered a professional contract so I was very excited.
At the same time I had a team in Belgium waiting for me and I made up my mind that I was going to go to Belgium. About a week before leaving, I was playing my last game for my team and I got an anterior cruciate ligament injury. I was told that I would be out of action for about 1 year but, thank God, I was able to come back after six months. Soon after two bigs clubs were keen to offer me a deal so I went home and I prayed. God spoke to me; He didn't want me to go pro because he had something bigger than myself for me and so I gave my life to God.
When I recovered from my injury I was looking for a job and I could not find one, and so Emma Frost who is my youth leader invited me to come to SCEA to help update my resume. While I was there she introduced me to Willem and at that time BGM needed a part time gardener, so that's when I joined BGM. I enjoy working outside and just making sure the schools look nice, Willem is the best boss I’ve ever had, sometimes it feels like he is my dad. I work with such great guys. To me they are just not work colleagues but they are great friends also.
I love God more than anything in this world, and I don't try to fit him into my life but since my life belongs to him I let him choose what he wants in my life and that's why I love working for SCEA because I can work in a Godly environment. I love my family and I also love my church family and wouldn't be where I am today without them. I spend most of my time with church family and I pray everyday for souls that God would make a way for everyone to hear the Gospel of Jesus and when ever I get an opportunity I share with my friends that I graduated high school.
I feel that God wants me to work at SCEA but in 5 years time I want to graduate from bible college, having done a certificate of evangelism and a diploma of theology.