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Sun-Journal from Lewiston, Maine • B2

Publication:
Sun-Journali
Location:
Lewiston, Maine
Issue Date:
Page:
B2
Extracted Article Text (OCR)

B2 Local SUN JOURNAL MONDAY, OCTOBER 9, 2017 FROM CAMP IN KENYATO LEWISTON Somali refugee wants to 'give back to the community' Negeye has lived in Lewiston since 2006. But he has no memories of his home country because he was just 6 years old when his family fled. BEN MCCANNAPORTLAND PRESS HERALD Somali refugee Abdikadir Negeye is assistant dlrectorof the Maine immigrant and Refugee Services in Lewiston. as a child in a Kenyan refugee camp, soccer was a way of life. BY MEGAN DOYLE PORTLAND PRESS HERALD The Kenyan refugee camp where Abdikadir Negeye grew up didn't have a manicured soccer field.

Their ball was clothing scraps wrapped in plastic. Everyone played barefoot But Negeye and the other Somali children in the camp played constantly. "Soccer is everything," said Negeye, who is now 32. Negeye, who still keeps the laminated badge that identified his soccer team at the refugee camp, is now one of about 6,000 immigrants born in Somalia and other African countries and living in Maine, according to the U.S. Census.

Somalia, because of a decades-long civil war and famine and drought, has been the largest single source of refugees arriving in Maine during the past 15 years. A total of 1,621 Somali refugees have been resettled in Maine since 2002, a number that does not include family members who followed them or so-called secondary refugees who moved to Maine after arriving elsewhere in the U.S. Negeye has lived in Lew-iston since 2006. But he has no memories of his home country because he was just 6 years old when his family fled their village in 1991. He spent his childhood in the sprawling Dadaab camp in Kenya, where he lived among more than 240,000 refugees and asylum seekers.

Negeye's family belongs to a minority ethnic group, Somali Bantus, who became targets during a civil war that began in early 1991. His parents had relatives who were killed, and so wanted safety for their children. Negeye's mother and father carried him on their backs as the family walked more than 300 miles from their village in Somalia to the United Nations refugee camp in neighboring Kenya. A younger sibling died after the monthslong journey to the refugee camp. "There's a lot of people port in 2007.

Negeye got a job as a language facilitator in the Lewiston School Department in 2006 and stayed there until 2013. His dad now works at a donut shop, and his mom works in childcare. "Today, my family, they are all taxpayers," Negeye said. "They are contributing to the community. That is something we all wanted to do.

I know the language was still an issue, but there's a lot of things they could do. The language barrier, it didn't stop them." In Lewiston, Negeye and some friends began talking about a need for academic tutoring and after-school activities for young immigrants. Among them was Negeye's friend Rilwan Osman. Their families had been friends in the refugee camps in Somalia. Osman had advised Negeye to come to quieter Lewiston when he felt overwhelmed in bustling Atlanta.

In Maine, they shared a concern about refugee children who were struggling with the language barrier and failing to graduate high schooL "We asked ourselves, if nobody is going to come help our kids, we need to do something," Osman said. In 2009, they started the Somali Bantu Youth Association of Maine with just a van and some athletic equipment. They ran a youth soccer program for 50 kids that first summer. Negeye wanted to pass on the lessons soccer taught him in the refugee camp. "Being responsible, being respectful of each other, being punctual in everything, teamwork," he said.

In 2011, Negeye applied for naturalization and took his citizenship test. When he passed, he came to school to find his students waving American flags in the hallway for him. "People will still question about me being a citizen," he said. "Today I have a lot of responsibilities as a U.S. citizen, and I take the oath to defend this country and to die for it.

My kids are all born here, and this is where I call security checks. They moved to a new refugee camp in order to complete additional screenings and interviews. In total, Negeye lived in the camps for 14 years. "AH those long waits, sometimes to be honest, I even felt I will never come to America," Negeye said. In January 2006, the wait ended.

The family landed in Atlanta, Georgia. They brought a small amount of clothing and a few personal items, including Negeye's soccer badge. The traffic lights and the highways of the large southern city overwhelmed them immediately. Negeye remembers his frustration trying to understand people with Southern accents as he tried to place a money order with his limited English. Their relatives and friends from the refugee camps had been resettled in other states, including Maine.

They felt alone in their new country, so they moved to Lewiston in April 2006. "It's a smaller city, less crime and less crowded," Negeye said. Negeye was eager to get an education. He enrolled at Loring Jobs Corps in Limestone and earned his high school diploma there in 2007. Then he earned an associate degree at Central Maine Community College in 2011 and a bachelor's degree from the University of Southern Maine in 2014.

He worked full time while in school. His family received government assistance when they first arrived, but Negeye said they wanted to work as soon as possible. One of his first jobs in Maine was with his father at L.L. Bean in Free- The entry to Negeye's office is papered with newspaper clippings about the 2015 Lewiston High School boys' soccer team, which won the state championship and included eight Somali players who grew up in refugee camps. "I want to give back to the community that has invested in me, educated me and made me who I am today," Negeye said.

"People, if they say, do you want to move? I always say no. This is where I call home, and I'm not going anywhere." He met his wife, who is also a Somali refugee, at a wedding. Their four children are still small-the oldest is just 8 years old -but Negeye hopes they play soccer someday. He will be able to take them to a real soccer field, where they can run in cleats and pass areal ball to each other. "The first thing you will see them start kicking will be aball'hesaid.

home." His volunteer work grew more demanding. Negeye and his colleagues at the Somali Bantu Youth Association saw a need for adult classes in English and financial literacy. Many refugees also need counseling to address post-traumatic stress disorder. They decided to expand their services. In 2013, Negeye left his job at the Lewiston schools and took the role of assistant director for what would be renamed Maine Immigrant and Refugee Services.

"We saw the need in the community," said Osman, who had also previously worked for the Lewiston schools. "We saw how not only the youth but also the parents were struggling when it comes to adapting to the new culture." The nonprofit now employs more than 50 people. The summer soccer program hosted 250 players this year. REGIONAL AGENDA who have lost their lives on the way to refugee camps," Negeye said. "Those who are lucky enough have made it to the refugee camps.

Some people are killed by animals. There are some people who died for hunger or lack of water or medical complications." In the camp, his family lived in a hut with a single room. They collected rations of maize from the United Nations, but sometimes it was only enough for one meal a day for Negeye and his five siblings. Medical care was lacking. Negeye went to school, where he remembered his fellow students were not organized by age or divided into grades.

His favorite subject was TangHnh "Sometimes we were learning something with our stomachs empty," Negeye said. "Sometimes we were walking to school without shoes. But 1 still had that hunger there for education. Refugee status is a designation given by the U.N. to people who have fled their coun-tries because of persecution, war or violence.

Less than one percent of 14.4 million refugees are permanently resettled in another country, according to the U.N. Refugee Agency. But the conditions in their country of origin made it impossible for the Somali Bantus to return there, and in 2000, the U.S. government agreed to accept 12,000 refugees from that group. For the next five years, while still living in the camp, Negeye and his family were interviewed repeatedly by U.S.

immigration officials. They were required to pass medical examinations and Smithfield, operating after habitual offender revocation, 755 pjn. Oct. 4 in Rumford, Oxford County Sheriffs Office. James William Hart, 47, of Paris, criminal contempt, p.m.

Oct. 5 in Norway, Maine Warden Service. Edgar A. Googjns, 72, of South Portland, operating after suspension, operating an unregistered motor vehicle, failure to display insurance sticker, improper display of plates, 5:17 pjn. Oct.

5 in Oxford, Oxford Police Department Chelsea R. Kimball, 19, of Paris, violating conditions of release, 10:50 pjn. Oct 5 in Fryeburg, Fryeburg Police Department One recent author of a letter to the Sun Journal in support of the merger admitted the differences between the cities, including welfare, could be difficult to streamline. But he remained optimistic. "It won't be easy to bring together the different tax rates, computer systems, welfare loads, unionized sectors, but it can be done if there are good-faith deliberations and planning," he said.

Man serving life for murder seeks new trial based on new DNA evidence Mason to speak to Auburn GOP STAFF REPORT AUBURN Garrett Mason, Maine Senate majority leader anda candidate for Maine governor, will speak at the next meeting of the Auburn City Republican Committee. The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 10, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Gipper's Sports Grill, 120 Center St. The event is open to the public.

Membership in the Auburn City Republican Committee is open to all registered Auburn Republicans. For more information about the committee or the event, contact Committee Chairman Matt Leonard at 518-1155 or maujleonardgmaiLcom. Monday Buckfleld: Board of Assessors, 6:30 p.m., Municipal Center. Dcdlold: Selectmen, 5:30 pro, Ludden Memorial Library Hebroit Selectmen pmlbwi Office RartKSeiectrner 630 pro. Town Office Pbiu Selectmen, 6 Office Sunmr Fire Department Auxiliary 6 prrvicwn Office Waterfoni: Selectmen, 6:30 Office Tuesday Buckfleld: Community Day Committee, 630 pm.

Municipal Center. Eurtfet Busts School Committee, 530 pm, Stratton Elementary SchooL Jay: Selectmen, 6 Office MOKto Mexico Sewer District Board of "Trustees, 4:30 pm, Town Office Parts: Planning Board, 7 pm, Town Office Sumner Selectmen, 7 pm, Town Office Wednesday Bethel: planning Board, 6 Town Office BuddleM: Budget Committee, 10am, Municipal Center. LNnmioro Pbbk Uverrnote Pais Water District 7 am, dstrict office Mexico: Mexico Water District Board ofTrustees, 4 Hall. Thursday Bethel: Ordnance Review Committee, 6 Office Buckfleld: Historical Society, 6 pm. snack and 7 pm meeting, Municipal Center.

Canton: Selectmen, 630 pm. Town Office Harrtson: Selectmen, 7 pm, Town Office New vineyard: Selectmen, 6 pm. Smith HalL Norway: Planning Board, 7 pm, Town Office OttaneM: Ordinance Policy Review Committee, 7 Office Oxford: Planning Board, 7 pm. Town Office Sumner Fire Department 630 pmjown Office West Parts: Selectmen, 5 pm. Town Office OXFORD COUNTY ARREST LOG By Judy Harrison bangor daily news A Massachusetts man serving a life sentence at the Maine State Prison for a 1994 rape and murder is seeking a new trial because his DNA was not found on the green sock stuffed into the victim's mouth.

Foster Bates, 50, of At-tleboro, Massachusetts, claims the new evidence raises reasonable doubt about his guilt and should be presented to a jury. Defense attorney, Rory Mc-Namara of Berwick, argued that DNA from unknown males was found on the sock, tested in 2008, and there were at least three alternative suspects in the case. The Maine attorney general's office, which prosecutes homicide cases, disagreed. Assistant Attorney General Donald Ma-comber said in his brief that a new trial was unnecessary because there was enough other evidence 15 years ago, including his semen found in the victim's vagina, to convict Bates. The Maine Supreme Judicial Court will hear arguments in the case Thursday at Freeport High School during their annual fall road trip.

The court will convene Friday at Mountain Valley High School and Oct. 25 at West-brook High School. A jury convicted Bates in July 2002 in Cumberland County Superior Court of murder and gross sexual assault in the February 1994 death of his neighbor Tammy Dickson, 22, of South Portland, the briefs said. He was charged with the crimes in 2001 after more advanced technology enabled investigators to match DNA found on Dickson's body to Bates' blood sample, which was taken around the time of the slaying, according to the Associated Bates testified at the trial that in 1991 he moved to Maine from Taunton, Massachusetts, to play basketball at the University of Southern Maine. He transferred to Southern Maine Technical College the following year and enrolled in the criminal justice technology program.

He told the jury that he hired Dickson, his upstairs neighbor, to watch his baby while he was at school and his wife was hospitalized, the Associated Press reported. Within a few weeks, Bates testified, he and Dickson began having an affair. Initially, Bates denied having sex with Dickson but later changed his story. When he was arrested, police that Bates bound and gagged Dickson, stuffed the sock in her mouth and raped her in the living room, leaving her 18-month-old son in a playpen with no food or water for three days. Larry E.

Williams, 50, of Lewiston, operating under the influence, 10:59 am. Oct. 4 in Auburn. Veronica J. Button, 23, of Lewiston, theft of services, 12:21 p.m.

Oct. 4 in Auburn, Androscoggin County Sheriffs Office. Ryan S. Green, 45, of Rumford, failure to pay fines, 353 pjn. Oct 4 in Rum-ford, Rumford Police Department.

David L. Morrill, 36, of Norway, operating with suspended license, unlawful possession of scheduled drugs, operating under the influence of alcohol, 5:48 pjn. Oct 4 in Norway, Norway Police Department Timothy S. Mosher, 58, of MERGER Continued from Page B1 es to what they say are questionable facts that were provided by Leonard during the recent forum. In response to Leonard's take that Lewiston and Auburn are entirely different, the response said, "Hog-wash.

We are known as and are seen by others as Lewis-ton-Auburn. Visitors from away generally cannot tell which city they are in." POLICE LOG Auburn Annda Adinson, 27, of 812 River Road, Brunswick, violating conditions of release, 11:11 p.m. Saturday on Stanley Street Lewiston Stephen Witham, 45, of 148 Pierce on a warrant, 1237 pjn. Sunday at that address. Michael Brawn, 27, of 12 Brookwood Court, Lisbon Balls, domestic violence assault and obstructing the report of a crime, Sunday in Brunswick.

Androscoggin County Jaymes Shaw, 31, of 26 Cedar Drive, Standish, disorderly conduct and failure to provide identification, 1130 p.m. Sat-urdayatMixer'sLoungeby the Sabattus Police Department Kay la Johns, 24, of 116 Newbury Auburn, operating under the influence, 1:44 ajn. Sunday on Lisbon Road, Sabattus by tteAndroscoggm County Sheriffs Phillip Witham, 53, of 7 King St, Norway, on a warrant, KM pm. Saturday in Oxford by the Oxford County Sheriffs Office..

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