By Bénédicte Wonganombe, a resident at Hope House

Over the past month, Portland has looked like a dead city – as deserted as if we were at war, dangerous to go out in unless a white flag is raised. The lines outside the supermarkets, the masks we put on as soon as our feet step outside, the constant hand washing – all of this makes us realize we are living through a historic time.

Personally, I am an asylum seeker, and very far from my children, my family, and my friends. I have chosen to continue working in order not to sink into a depression, and to keep my high moral standards. By working I occupy my time, and also contribute to the city and state which have welcomed me.

When we are working, we forget ourselves a bit, and think of others – the poor, the homeless living at the shelter, who we are caring for at this very difficult and complicated time. Their warm smiles take us out of our isolation and give us hope. And we occupy our time taking online classes. Portland Adult Education continues to teach us English online.

In life, there is an end to everything and a solution to every problem. I am confident that the political and administrative authorities will eventually find solutions to this deadly pandemic. We pray to God that this will happen as soon as possible in order to stop the dizzying number of deaths in the world.

For us, residents of Hope House in Portland, we thank the management team of this organization which, despite the risks linked to this pandemic, continues to take care of us by providing thermometers, masks, food, and other necessities.


By Roseline Soubele, a resident at Hope House

Time goes so fast. I can’t believe it is going on two months since school was closed in the middle of March. I felt lazy during the first weeks of the stay-at-home order and it was not easy to adjust to online learning. Meeting people and interacting with them in person during our classes were part of what motivated us and kept us focused. It made things understandable. Learning online is not easy. So much information comes our way and we have such a short time to digest it. However, life continues every morning, and we have to keep moving.

My big concern right now is thinking of my family back home: my beautiful daughters and my handsome husband. With the spread of this virus slowing immigration, when will our reunion happen? Thinking of what could happen before we meet again is scary and traumatizing.
Another concern is how we will be treated if we get sick from COVID-19. Many of us have no good health insurance and no income. Thinking of the death toll among black people in Chicago is heartbreaking.

God through Jesus Christ is our only Hope. I am a Believer, and I know the scriptures tell me that everything will pass except the almighty God. We are living under an Amazing Grace. This will pass also.

We can use this time to change and to better our relationships and to learn new skills. I am so grateful to Hope House and to General Assistance for their support, and to all my new friends here in Maine. Let my God remember them.