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News stories tagged with "eritrea"

Jemila Saleh in her kitchen in Potsdam. Photo: Natasha Haverty
Jemila Saleh in her kitchen in Potsdam. Photo: Natasha Haverty

Eritrean refugee finds home in cooking

Eritrea is a small country in the African Horn. It's been at war on and off with neighboring Ethiopia for decades. And since 2001, the government has been sending thousands of its citizens to prison for being a part of any faith group that isn't on the government's approved list of churches.

Jemila Saleh is sure she would have been sent to prison for her beliefs, if it hadn't been for a series of what she calls miracles. Just after her pastor was imprisoned, Jemila connected with a church here in the North Country, and they offered to support her escape. So in the middle of the night Jemila packed up all she could, and got on airplane with her three daughters. Members of the church picked them up at the Syracuse airport with a backseat full of blankets and winter coats, and brought them to their new apartment in Potsdam, which the church members had rented and furnished.

Four and a half years later, Jemila has a degree in finance from SUNY Canton, her daughters are in school, and Jemila is practicing her faith freely here. But the way she's kept a grip on her life, and her story, is through cooking.  Go to full article

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