New Mainers Speak 03/23/2014


New Mainers Speak 03/23/2014


Kate Manahan



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Host Kate Manahan interviews Mia Ntahobari, who moved to Maine from Burundi as an asylum seeker in August 2010. Mia discusses the languages spoken in Burundi, as well as her childhood growing up in the city of Bujumbura, her first memories of Maine, and differences between the cultures of Maine and Burundi. She chose to come to the US due to political and ethnic conflicts and lack of safety in Burundi. She gives some background about Burundi’s culture, government, and geography.

Mia also describes her education and career in Burundi. She studied social and clinical psychology, and became the equivalent of a social worker. She worked in nonprofits and with the Burundi Red Cross, helping vulnerable people; she also worked as a private consultant providing counseling and support for rape victims. In Maine, she took a CNA course and also received a Community Health Outreach Worker certification; in the latter role, she serves as a culture broker between Portland’s immigrant community and healthcare providers, including advocating, translating, and assisting with Affordable Care Act enrollment. Mia says that her goal is to transfer her Burundian coursework here and get her US social work certification.

Mia was the first of her family to leave Burundi; her husband followed her, and their four children (they have since had a fifth child) joined them once they had settled in Maine. Mia discusses loneliness and homesickness as an asylum seeker in a new country, and how giving her time and skills to her new community helped. They also discuss parenting in Burundi versus parenting in Maine, Mia’s hopes for her children as they grow up in America, and organizations and individuals who have helped her in Maine.

Publication Date



WMPG 90.9 FM


Portland, Maine


WMPG, community radio, college radio, New Mainers Speak, Kate Manahan, immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers, Portland, New Mainers, Mia Ntahobari, Bujumbura, Burundi, social work, Learning Works, Certified Nursing Assistant, community health, community health outreach worker, social psychology, Burundi Red Cross, Affordable Care Act, parenting

New Mainers Speak 03/23/2014