By UNC Media Hub / Story: Tess Allen. Photos: Cole McCauley

Durham, N.C. — When the door opens, there are white faces and there are black faces. There is English and there is Swahili. But all are laughing and talking together as though they are family.

Marcia Elliott and Alice Bolanos make weekly trips over to this plain, beige apartment in Durham, North Carolina, where they spend time with the Muya family, a refugee family of eight who arrived in the U.S. from Somalia in September.

The Muyas fled from Somalia to a refugee camp in Kenya in 2004 to escape the war-torn country they call home. Then, in 2016, they finally arrived in the United States.

The family didn’t meet Elliott and Bolanos until just months ago when they arrived in the U.S., but you’d never know from watching them. They seem like the oldest of friends.

Elliott and Bolanos are part of the Good Neighbor team assigned by World Relief to the Muya family.

World Relief is an international refugee resettlement agency with 25 offices nationwide—one of which is in Durham. According to their website, they “stand with the vulnerable, partnering with local churches to end the cycle of suffering, transforming lives and building sustainable communities.

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