You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks


Welcome to

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on

Family who lived in refugee camp for 17 years dreams of house one day

Obed Nshuti nods when a visitor asks if an older brother plays lacrosse.

Obed, 9, adds: “I used to play soccer.”

There’s no soccer ball in the ground-floor, three-bedroom apartment on East Riverside Drive where Obed lives with his family of 11.

But there’s hope that Austin promises better times for Issa Noheli and Colette Mukagatare, their children (five of them, including Obed, 16 or younger) and granddaughter Vanessa Isimbi, 1.

Noheli, 61, with Obed seated next to him on a living room couch, revisited the horrors of before, notably the 1997 attack on the Mudende refugee camp in Rwanda where Noheli had landed after ethnic Hutu forces burned his farm in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Noheli was shot in the leg and left for dead. He later lost his leg and was reunited with his wife and children.

After 17 years in a refugee camp, they were given refugee status in the United States.

But now the family has needs.

They are part of the Austin American-Statesman’s Season for Caring program, which highlights the stories of 12 families and helps hundreds of others through local nonprofit agencies. The Noheli family was nominated by Interfaith Action of Central Texas.

In their apartment, five girls fill two beds in one bedroom. Three boys (sleeping head to toe to head) fill two beds a room over.

Most weekdays, Noheli and his wife take English classes. Afternoons, Mukagatare shops and cooks while Noheli naps or watches the kids.

Noheli, limited to moving around on crutches, wishes he could play with his son and the other kids.

Life could improve with English language software for the family’s adults and, for Noheli, a prosthetic leg, an electric scooter and perhaps a car he could drive. One daughter, Gentile Umuhoza, says she’d love to earn a GED diploma and to see her own daughter, Vanessa, in preschool.

Mukagatare would like training for almost any job.

They also need such items as a washer and dryer and laptops for the children to do schoolwork.

Obed, the family’s third-grader, volunteers his own wish.

It’s not a soccer ball.

“A house,” he says.

To find out more about the Noheli family or to donate an item on their wish list, contact Interfaith Action of Central Texas, 512-386-9145;

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

Charlotte attorney disbarred after being accused of having sex with clients
Charlotte attorney disbarred after being accused of having sex with clients

A Charlotte, North Carolina, attorney accused of having sex with several of his immigration clients has been disbarred, officials said. Court documents show the clients he targeted were "especially vulnerable." According to the court filing, attorney Chris Greene voluntarily surrendered his license after he agreed that he could not defend...
Man dies in FM 1431 crash in Lago Vista

LAGO VISTA Man dies in FM 1431 crash A man died in a crash Friday morning near Lago Vista, a Department of Public Safety spokeswoman said. Brian M. Young, 50, died after the crash around 7:40 a.m., spokeswoman Robbie Barrera said. The other driver, who survived the crash, told state troopers that he was pulling a trailer with his pickup truck down...
Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody ‘arrests’ 4 Stormtroopers
Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody ‘arrests’ 4 Stormtroopers

Newly sworn-in Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody isn’t playing games when it comes to protecting the people of Wilco. Chody, 46, posted a tweet from his official sheriff’s account Friday, saying he has four in custody after holding a few Stormtroopers at gunpoint in the Avery Ranch area for a promotion of “Star Wars: The Old...
Sex abuse victim in ex-state doctor Charles Fischer case seeks damages
Sex abuse victim in ex-state doctor Charles Fischer case seeks damages

Patients who testified in ex-state psychiatrist Charles Fischer’s criminal trial last fall said they weren’t seeking any monetary gain when they came forward with sexual abuse accusations against him. That narrative changed Monday when the main victim — whose 2011 outcry in connection to a 2003 assault sparked a flurry of allegations...
Lawmakers debate when to honor — and when to override — local regulations
Lawmakers debate when to honor — and when to override — local regulations

Local control, as any locally elected Texas lawmaker will tell you, is better than the Capitol pulling the strings. Government closer to the people surely must be better than a government farther from the people. Especially that faraway federal district squeezed in between Virginia and Maryland. Except when it isn’t, when a wise, liberty-loving...
More Stories