By Erica Inacia 

In June 2019, my family was given a home at Brunswick Landing. Before I came to Brunswick, we lived at the Portland Expo. It was very exciting at the Expo because there were a lot of people that came at the same time, and we knew each other well because we traveled together. 

A lot of volunteers also came to the Expo to help us. They played with us, sang with us, brought snacks and clothes for us, and much more. We all got free tickets to the baseball game, and tickets for free food at the game. The volunteers babysat for kids so parents could do other things. They gave us lessons in speaking English at Portland summer school. They took us to a park that had a water fountain in it, and we had picnics there. 

What was not great at the Expo was that we had to stay there such a long time because we couldn’t find a place to live. We were one of the last families there – other people came first for housing. 

When we found a house in Brunswick Landing, it was very exciting, but it took a long time for all five families to move in. Moving in was a very happy time and so many people welcomed us with a big heart – that I’m very thankful for. Everyone was very patient with us, because we couldn’t speak English. When we moved into the house, a lot of volunteers came with furniture, blankets, food, toys, clothes, and school supplies. Some of the helpers were Dana, Sue, Jaed, Sara, Mrs. Darby, and Vladimir.  

Living at Brunswick Landing was a very big thing because it was such a calm neighborhood. People were very welcoming and helpful, and very nice. I was very happy at the Landing because I fit in and had friends. Many people helped me to learn English. Every time I had a problem with something, people were there to help me, and were very supportive. 

For people wanting to live in Brunswick, I will tell you that everyone is so friendly and helpful. Now that I’m moving to a new home, I am happy, but also sad for leaving this wonderful place. I will miss the people that I met there and who helped me and my family

In August 2020, I attended Midcoast Literacy workshops which focused on giving suggestions to volunteer tutors on how to work with New Mainers who needed help in learning English. I was then matched with Erica Inacia, a then-12-year-old New Mainer from Angola who lived at Brunswick Landing. Over the years, Erica and I have gone in many different directions during our “class time,” based on her interests, school and peer needs, and what was happening in the world. She and I read Amjambo when it first appears each month, and we look for poems and stories that connect with her. The Telling Room stories and poems were what first caught our attention. When we talked about her upcoming move from Brunswick Landing, writing a story for Amjambo seemed like a perfect fit.               

— Susan Weems , Brunswick