January 7th, 2012
03:00 AM ET

Refugee nurse fights for new life in America

By Julie Peterson, CNN

Clarkston, Georgia (CNN) - Mubonge and Masasu Twachoka arrive home from a chicken processing factory at 3 a.m., ending another 19-hour day. Five hours later, it’s time to get the kids to school.

But there’s no complaining on the part of the Twachokas, just long days, short nights and lots of hard work.

The Twachokas live in Clarkston, Georgia, but their journey to the United States has been long and difficult.

Mubonge Twachoka, 44, is from Congo. He married his wife, a Rwandan woman, in 1990. They have five children, including a 19-year-old son with special needs who uses a wheelchair.

Mubonge Twachoka, who used to work as a nurse, and his wife fled Congo almost a decade ago because of safety concerns. They said they were targeted because their marriage was considered “mixed.” They escaped to a United Nations refugee camp in Tanzania, where they claimed official refugee status.

Over the next eight years, the family lived in several Tanzanian camps. As official U.N.-designated refugees, they awaited an invitation for residency from a “safe” country.

While in the camps, Twachoka continued to offer his services as a nurse.


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Filed under: Economy • Education • Ethnicity • How we live • Immigration
January 7th, 2012
02:00 AM ET

Searching Mexico's census for a clues about American history

By Michael Martinez, CNN

(CNN) - For professional genealogists – and amateurs like actor Edward James Olmos – an extraordinary moment is unfolding for the nation’s Latino community, thanks to the digital age.

It’s the revelation of the 1930 Mexican census, which was distributed free online this year.

Decades ago, such data might not have been as meaningful. But the United States’ own recent census now shows that Latinos are the nation’s No. 2 group in 2010. With 50.5 million Hispanics now in the United States, the 1930 Mexican census offers a glimpse into the heritage and history of an emerging cornerstone community – especially because 31.8 million Americans are of Mexican descent.

“All of the information that we’re getting from the census is really extraordinary because it’s leading us into different realms of understanding of what was happening at the time to our family,” Olmos said. “It’s been quite an experience to go in there, and it’s been very educational.”


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Filed under: History • Latino in America • Pop culture • Who we are