From the San Diego Union-Tribune
By James Hebert
When Divine Ngabire thinks back on her first impressions of the United States, one image in particular seems to stick with her:
“The beautiful lights,” she says, recalling that moment three years ago when she arrived as a refugee from Mozambique. “I came here at nighttime, and we passed through downtown, and it was so beautiful.”
In her time at Crawford High in San Diego’s City Heights neighborhood, Divine has cast more than a little illumination of her own. The senior serves as a translator for other students on campus, sings at campus events (“We Are the World” is a favorite) and is starting a new-arrivals club with some friends to help other refugees get settled in.
“That’s her nature — she helps out,” says Kathryn Cloward, a San Diego singer-songwriter who has come to know Divine well over the past month or so.
“She’s an amazing human being. But we wouldn’t know this if we didn’t get to hear her story.”
And telling that story — or singing it, actually — is just what Cloward plans to do. The musician is one of 12 San Diego artist-mentors who are partnering with Crawford students in Intrepid Theatre Co.’s innovative new project “Exiled Voices: The Refugee Art Experience.”
The idea behind the one-of-a-kind initiative, launched with SAY San Diego Crawford Community Connection, is for the artists — painters, poets, choreographers, actors and more — to first soak in all they can about the refugees and their journeys, literal and otherwise.