Gloria Butera has only been in the United States for six years. She lived in Tennessee before moving to Lake Charles, LA where she enrolled at McNeese St. University. She is a Senior studying Accounting.
“I love America. I have learned a lot but there is still so much more I want to learn,” she says. She heard about McNeese from her friend, Daphne Batamurizza. Daphne, also from Rwanda, came to lake Charles ahead of her. “I saw the impact Louisiana made on her and I wanted to share the experience,” said Butera.
She says she loves the Louisiana Food more than anything. “The food here is very good. It’s a lot like food back in Africa.” However, she says seafood is more popular here than it was in Rwanda.
“Lake Charles is a small city. Most people don’t like small cities but I do. I think with the city being a small town there is less distraction. It’s easy to have fun here yet stay focused on my goals in life,” she said.
Butera admits people around the world pay attention to American Culture and are somewhat familiar with it when they come to this country but she was shocked at how misinformed many people were about Africa. “I have met so many people who assumed Africa is this dark, diseased place with illiterate people but they’d be surprised if they ever visited Africa,” she says. She recalls one person even asking her if they had flushing toilets in their homes back in Rwanda.
“Someone in Tennessee asked if we had elephants in our back yard in Rwanda.” She thought it was an inconsiderate joke at first until she realized, they really thought people in Africa all have pet monkeys, elephants, and giraffes walking around in their yards. She giggled with surprise and told that person, “No, I see those kind of animals at the zoo just like you do.”
She says people assumed she had never used a cellphone when she came to America and were trying to teach her how to push the buttons as if she had never used one before. “Most of it is due to the blindfolds that have put on people all over the world as it pertains to Africa’s evolution. It’s not just Americans but people everywhere are miseducated about Africa,” she says. “But I never get upset because I know people are curious and they honestly have not been exposed to the truth.”
Gloria says there is a lot she loves about Louisiana. “There is a lot of culture here and the people have treated me very kindly at McNeese. I am growing a lot and I’m anxious to share this wonderful experience with my family back home,” she says.
She’ll go home for the first time in six years upon graduating this Spring.
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