Rwanda refugee becomes official Iowan - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Rwanda refugee becomes official Iowan

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) - More than 150 people are now official Iowans, after being sworn in as United States citizens Tuesday.

It happened at the University of Northern Iowa, and it was one of the largest naturalization ceremony they've ever held. 

One of those 150 people, Syridio Habimana, has been fighting for his life since the early 1990's.

"We could not use the road, because we were afraid to be killed," said Syridio's mother, Immaculee.

Genocide in Rwanda forced the Habimana family to run for their lives, taking refuge in the Congo and Zambia.

"I had three young boys, the youngest was two years, and I had to carry him on my back," said Immaculee.

Syridio was the youngest.

With her husband and three children, they dodged militants, and the dangers of the wild.

They ate whatever food they could find, even if it meant it was uncooked.

But Tuesday, everything changed.

"I feel excellent, I feel good. This is the most wonderful day of my life," said Syridio.

Next to 150 other people, Syridio Habimana was sworn in as a citizen of the United States while his family proudly watched.

It took almost two decades for the Habimana family to get approval to come to the United States.

It's something for which they fought hard, and something they will never let go.

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