Reunite Mr. & Mrs. Muya with their children after almost 10 years apart!
Hi Friends! This is a cause near and dear to my heart. I am blessed to call one of the Muya children a close friend and along with your help, I want to bless his parents, Mr. & Mrs. Muya, with two plane tickets from South Africa to Boston, MA for their beloved son’s wedding.
If 120 people each give $25, we will reach our $3000 goal.
Our money will be a simple gift, and I can think of no family more deserving than the Muyas. This is their story:
It begins in the Democratic Republic of Congo – a country rich in natural resources that has been ravaged by civil war for decades. As the head of his family, Mr. Muya was a well-connected and savvy businessman who made a great living as a merchant. He traveled around buying and trading valuable goods from surrounding countries, and owned a lovely home in the posh suburbs of Lubumbashi, in South Congo, along with his wife and their five children. The Muyas lived in relative peace.
Then in 1994, the Rwandan genocide occurred.
Hoards of refugees began spilling over into Congo. Many of these refugees were extremely violent. Atrocities started occurring on unprecedented levels. Bands of Congolese soldiers began killing, raping and stealing from their own citizens. Stories of families being slaughtered and friends being forced to watch as their mothers and sisters were raped and killed in front of them were all too common. Even in the wealthy city of Lubumbashi, no one was safe. Expatriates fled the country. Congolese citizens began to leave.
Mr. Muya is a brave man.
A Democratic Party supporter, he spoke out openly against the corruption of his country’s dictator, Mubutu, and what the Congolese soldiers were doing. Early one evening a band of Congolese soldiers came and broke into his home. They beat Mr. Muya for information, accused him of disseminating lies against his government and they threatened to kill his family. A radio call interrupted their interrogation, and the soldiers fled. Fearful for both his life, and his family’s, he gave his wife and five children an hour to quickly gather anything they could fit in a backpack. They escaped with the bare minimum of clothing, food, and money—assuming tensions would stabilize in the course of a few weeks or months and that they would be able to return home.
They never did.
The family fled in the back of a pick up truck to rural Zambia, crossing the border illegally at night. The Zambian government refused them immunity, and tried to deport the family back to Congo, so they hid and lived for weeks in a friend’s garage. Despite the circumstances, Mr. Muya remained optimistic, cheerful, and determined to keep his family alive.
The family went for days without food, and Mr. Muya would wake his children early in the morning to make them drink water to quell their hunger. To keep their spirits strong, Mr. Muya would tell stories and read to them (Adventures of TinTin, Robinson Crusoe, and other tales of great adventure). He urged them to keep dreaming, and told them that they could grow up to be anything they wanted to be.
They lived this way for a year.
While in hiding, Mrs. Muya’s health began deteriorating and Mr. Muya knew that a change would have to be made for her to survive. He had heard rumors of a refugee camp in Malawi admitting new families. Exhausted and hungry, they traveled by pick up truck, foot, and bus to land in Lilongwe, where Mr. Muya signed papers at the UNHCR to admit his family to the refugee camp—a massive former prison in the middle of nowhere.
This family of seven was given an 8 foot by 6 foot tent and access to food distributed once every month. The Muyas would wait in line for days to receive their rations of rice, beans, oil, peanuts, and sugar. Water was scarce as the camp faucet was only turned on for a few hours a day. Disease was so prevalent and food so limited that Mr. Muya quickly realized his family would die there if he did not come up with an escape strategy. He figured out that if his family divided the little food they had in half, eating only once a day (just enough to stay alive), they could sell the remaining food in nearby villages for a small profit.
Mr. Muya, and his family of seven, ate one meal a day for an entire year.
When they had saved enough money, Mr. Muya bought a cow and sold the meat (an extremely valuable commodity) to nearby villages. With these profits, he hoped to lead his family to Johannesburg, South Africa. He knew getting into South Africa would be tricky as he and his family did not have the proper paperwork, so they had to sneek out of the refugee camp in the middle of the night. They walked for miles to the nearest bus stop where Mr. Muya paid nearly all their money to a truck driver to transport them the 1,176 miles it would take to get to Maputo, Mozambique–a city close to the border of South Africa. Along the journey, the truck broke down in a downpour, in the middle of nowhere. The driver abandoned them. With his family crammed in the bed of the truck, Mr. Muya tried flagging down vehicles for a ride (this is extremely risky as many corrupt drivers in Africa kill fathers and sell their wives and children into sex trafficking).
Mr. Muya was persistent and, again, refused to give up.
After traveling an additional 1000 miles by truck, foot, and bus, the family arrived in Maputo. With the majority of what little money they had left, Mr. Muya found a driver that would take them across the heavily guarded South African border in the dead of night. Along with twenty other people, the Muyas held on for their lives as their driver turned off the truck lights drove through a field into thick forests of South Africa at high speed. Tired and hungry, they arrived in Durban with a total of $5. It was exceedingly hot and they had nowhere to go.
They lived homeless, hungry, and in desperate need of shelter for weeks.
Apartheid was in full swing with Nelson Mandela in his second year as president. The Muya’s were discriminated against because of their accents and different mannerisms. The family would often hide out at the Salvation Army, when xenophobia turned the streets into a violent mob.
Mr. Muya still refused to give up hope—reminding his children that nothing is impossible.
Along with his wife, he began making clothing and selling it at flea markets for a small profit. This allowed him to rent an apartment and enroll his children in school. Both he and his wife refused to let their kids work as they knew education would be their best chance for a different life.
His children excelled in their studies and grew to be integrity-filled, hard-working people. His eldest son was awarded a scholarship in 2006 to go to college in the United States. His daughters work full time jobs–one in Dubai, and one in South Africa. His second son (he is the one getting married) lives in Boston as a musician, and the youngest is a rugby player studying at a university in South Africa.
Mr. and Mrs. Muya are incredibly proud of their kids.
Their children’s hard work has one caveat—it has spread the family across continents. For almost a decade, the Muya family has been living apart since three of their five children moved.
A family that once survived by sticking together, is now staying in touch through skype and emails.
In late 2013, Mr. Muya suffered a medical scare and was hospitalized. His recovery has been slow but successful, however, the medical bills have been a large strain on the family. With their son’s wedding quickly approaching in October, the Muya children are struggling to afford airfare for Mr. and Mrs. Muya to attend.
Let me take a moment to make something clear: The Muyas never asked for airfare money. They are not the type of people to do so—which is exactly why they are so deserving of this gift.
As a world community, we have the capacity to bless this family with the money needed for them to reunite in Boston for their son’s wedding in October.
If 120 people each give $25, we will reach our $3000 goal. Will you join me in surprising Mr. and Mrs. Muya with this gift?
120 People X $25 = $3000
Ready? Set. Let’s BLESS the Muya’s!
Please share this campaign on social media using the hashtags: #120for25 #letsblessthemuyas #southafricatoboston #begenerous
(Note: Any additional money raised will be gifted directly to the Muya family.)