Talking with Nsona Kayenda

November 29, 2011

We had the chance to talk with Nsona Kayenda in her office at African Services Coalition.  Nsona is an immigrant from the Democratic Republic of Congo and is a caseworker at ASC, helping newly arrived refugees get the support they need.  She is a mother of four and a small business owner.  As if her responsibilities at ASC aren’t enough, Nsona owns and operates African Sister Restaurant, serving delicious African food in Greensboro.  When we asked her why she works with refugees, her answer was enlightening.  She said that when she came to the United States almost two decades ago, she was lucky to have an older brother already in Greensboro.  Her brother is a professor of French at North Carolina A&T University and he was able to support Nsona and help her adjust to life in America.  She said that she works with refugees because most of them are not as lucky as she was: most of them arrive in America knowing no one.  She is determined to make sure that everyone has a support system like the one she had.

We also found an interesting parallel between Nsona and Omer: both are guided in their work with refugees by their faith.  Nsona is a devout Christian and her husband, also Congolese, is a pastor at a local African church.  Nsona and Omer’s relationship is a perfect example of how faith can bring people together to achieve great things, instead of pulling people apart.

We hope to capture Nsona working at her restaurant, partly because she sees it as one of her gifts to the community: the ability to feed people.  That is a facet of what she sees as her main strength: the ability and willingness to serve others.  The other reason is more selfish on our part: we want some more great African food!

We feel that Nsona’s presence in the film will show that Omer is not alone in the work that he does.  Omer is building a coalition of like minded people, regardless of race, color, creed, or gender to help refugees make a better life in Greensboro.