Africa United

Elias Hatungimana
Current City:West Valley
School:Iowa Western Comm. College, Lander University
Years in USA:8 years

Player Bio

Family Situation-

My family lives here in Utah.

Home Country Situation-

My parents are from Burundi but I was born in Congo because my family had moved there to seek refuge from the violence in Burundi. Then, when I was just two years old we had to move to Tanzania because of war in Congo. I spent the next 14 years of my life living in a refugee camp in Tanzania! I then moved with my family to Utah when I was 16 and have lived here now for 8 years.

Living in a refugee camp is really hard. We would wake up and eat something for breakfast then go to a sort of “school.” We never had lunch because there wasn’t enough food. When we weren’t in school there was basically nothing to do so we would make our own soccer ball out of whatever we could find and play the rest of the day. We would usually eat dinner but because the food supply was so unstable we would sometimes have to ration out food while waiting for new supplies which meant we would sometimes go to bed very hungry.

Life in the USA-

I love the many opportunities here. I get to live in a nice place and am never hungry.

The biggest challenge here is racism. My friends and I were one time told to “go back where you came from!”

Dreams and goals-

I really want to keep playing soccer at the highest level I can and then start my own business. I currently work at a warehouse but know that I can do more. I’m starting a training course to learn how to code.

Message for the mainstream community-

My refugee friends and I may look different than most people in Utah but we are all the same. Whatever you can do, I can do. You can’t tell my dreams and my mindset just by looking at me.