Welcome to Amjambo Africa’s online edition! With the launch of this news site we are now a multimedia news organization! We publish a free monthly print newspaper, maintain an active social media presence, and now also host this online site. We hope you will let others in your network know about all the different ways they can access our content. We also hope you will visit this site frequently.
Amjambo Africa was first launched in April 2018 by Kit Harrison and Georges Budagu Makoko. Ms. Harrison is from the United States and Mr. Budagu is from Democratic Republic of Congo. They founded the publication out of a shared belief that Maine’s newcomer and local populations would benefit from knowing more about each other. We are pleased to celebrate Amjambo Africa’s first birthday with the launch of this online edition.
According to Mr. Budagu, the goals of this news organization are: “… to strengthen communication within and between local Maine communities. We want to help Mainers understand why others from the far end of the world have moved near them – what pushed them out of their homes to come here. We want to explain that when they see an unknown bird in their neighborhood, there has to be a good reason why it’s there! We want people to know that it hurts to be away from one’s motherland, and that with the loss of home, comes the loss of hope and comfort – and it takes many years to recover these. Peace and love are what all humanity seeks, and it is what newcomers to Maine seek. At birth, we all hope the environment we are born into will offer the comfort we need, but when it doesn’t – when war or famine or persecution threaten us – it is natural that those who are able to do so migrate in search of a new home. No one has a guarantee of safety from the need to face displacement at some point in life.”
From the start, the newspaper has provided information in multiple languages, and we now include articles in French, Somali, Swahili, Kinyarwanda, and English. Somali is our most recent language addition, and we are thrilled that we now have a translator working with us who will help us add to our Somali pages. We plan to also add Portuguese shortly in order to meet the needs of Maine’s Angolan community. Occasionally we receive a press release in Arabic, and we welcome these. Many readers have shared with us the comfort they feel in seeing articles in a newspaper in Maine written in their home language. Some readers have told us that being able to read the same article in English and in their home language helps their English acquisition. Others, who are English speakers, and also language students or teachers in colleges and K-12 schools, have told us they read our content to become multilingual, and develop skills in languages other than English.
Amjambo Africa is an initiative of the non-profit Ladder to the Moon Network. Georges Budagu Makoko, the publisher, is also president of Ladder to the Moon Network. He writes, “I believe that information is a key to understanding; understanding is a key to knowledge; and knowledge is a key to life. There’s a common saying in Lingala, “Kozanga koyeba iza liwa ya ndambo” or “The lack of information is a small death.” Amjambo Africa strives to provide immigrants with the information they need in order to more easily navigate life in America, and also to provide longtime Mainers with the information they need in order to better understand their new neighbors. Together we can build a stronger Maine.”
Readers who live outside the reach of our print distribution network will now be able to access our content easily on their computers and devices. We encourage you to check our site frequently for news coverage from around the state, updates from Africa, society pictures, sports and entertainment news, calendar updates, poetry, legislative developments, and more. As
We will continue to publish our print newspaper monthly, and to distribute to locations along the coast, in Augusta, Auburn, Lewiston, and the Greater Portland area. At present we distribute to over 200 locations.
We are grateful to our Founding Sponsors, who have been with us from the beginning: cPort Credit Union and Lee Auto, and to our Supporters: MEMIC, Coffee by Design, and Northern Light Mercy Hospital. We are also grateful to Maine Initiatives and Rines Thompson Foundation for their generous support of Amjambo Africa.
Amjambo Africa relies on the generosity of our community. Please consider making a donation to support our work. Thank you!
“Congratulations to Amjambo Africa! for one year of important work delivering the news to Maine people. Maine’s immigrant community brings new languages, ideas, and innovation to our state – strengthening our economy and adding to the vibrant cultures unique to Maine cities and towns. Whether you’re new to Maine, or have been here for generations, there is so much more we all can learn from diverse experiences to benefit from the great American melting pot! So pick up Amjambo Africa, get to know your neighbors better, and embrace the many opportunities our great state has to offer!”
— Senator Angus King
“I take great pride in the fact that so many African immigrants now call Maine their home. This reflects both the safety and support our state offers to all.
It has been my privilege to engage with communities of New Mainers, and I have listened to the harrowing stories that drove them to seek refuge along with details of their dreams and aspirations. I commend Amjambo Africa! for creating an opportunity for new arrivals to share their experiences and challenges while, at the same time, expanding awareness and understanding among the rest of us.
Generations ago, Irish, French-Canadians, Italians, Albanians, and more came to Maine to escape famine or to seek economic opportunities to provide for themselves and their families. Their integration was not without challenges, and their motivations and dreams were so much like your own.
I congratulate Amjambo Africa! for a year of giving voice—at no cost and in multiple languages—to our newest neighbors. Here’s to many more!”
— Congreewoman Chellie Pingree
“Amjambo Africa is an important celebration of Maine’s diverse communities, families, and people – all of which make us stronger,” Amjambo Africa lifts up the voices of Mainers, and I commend all involved on creating a welcoming, inclusive newspaper for Mainers of all ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds to share news, cultures and ideas. Congratulations on your first year!
— Governor Janet Mills
Amjambo Africa, I wanted to say thank you on your first-year anniversary for the dedication and hard work the newspaper staff and writers have put in over the past year. You have brought Africa to life in the mainstream community – information which is strengthening human relationships and building a robust ecosystem where diversity of thought and background prevails because of you, my campaign for the School Board of Education last fall was a success. Happy Anniversary and more years to come!
— Abusana Micky Bondo
“Congratulations to Amjambo Africa on your one year anniversary of making our platform visible to Maine and the worldwide web!! Thank you for giving our community work meaning and value.”
— Maine Immigrants’ Rights Coalition
Congratulations to Amjambo Africa on its first year of great success. ILAP is grateful to Amjambo Africa for providing such a wonderful publication and being a reliable place to announce immigration law and policy updates. Clients and visitors to our offices are able to read news and community updates in multiple languages while they wait for appointments. Amjambo Africa is a wonderful addition to Maine!
In these times of unfortunate attacks on some of our most cherished neighbors, your work is more vital than ever. On behalf of all the people of Portland, congratulations to Amjambo Africa for your first year. You have truly met and exceeded your mission to improve communication between New Mainers and those who have lived here for generations. May you have many, many more.
— Mayor Ethan Strimling
Amjambo Africa is a key community partner bringing further visibility to the great resources and initiatives available in Portland. It is also a celebration of our vibrant and diverse community and an opportunity for all Portlanders to learn of our rich and multicultural fabric!
— Julia Trujillo, City of Portland Office of Economic Development