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New nonprofit hopes to empower area refugees
Nizigiyimana Danifodi transfers a tomato seedling into the dirt of Munira Marlowe's Spotsylvania County garden.
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He is "more than happy" to once again stick his hands into borrowed dirt in his new home.
On a recent afternoon, Jackson took out a measuring tape to make sure the tomatoes were spaced correctly.
"Oh, he's such a professional," his children teased, using a new English word.
Jackson's mahogany hands were caked with tan mud. His teenagers, however, requested gardening gloves. Their hands were blistering.
"They're so American," he complained, but his brown eyes lit up as he said it.
Jackson waited years for those children to become "so American."
While Jackson worked in the garden, Marlowe fixed dinner for the refugees, showing a teenage girl how to cook. Marlowe envisions the life-skills center one day boasting a kitchen where refugees can learn cooking and cleaning.
For now, everyone crams into Marlowe's kitchen to eat at least one evening each week.
Into the evening, people stopped by Marlowe's house: coaches giving her sons a ride home from practice; social workers dropping off her foster children.
Neighbors driving home waved to the refugee farmers. Marlowe said friends, neighbors and total strangers have donated gardening supplies.
"To me, I am the luckiest, that God is allowing me to serve other people," Marlowe said. "Am I making six figures? Well, yeah, I am--just in a different way."
Amy Flowers Umble: 540/735-1973