- Associated Press - Saturday, January 31, 2015

GALESBURG, Ill. (AP) - When Papy Lokumu immigrated to the United States, he couldn’t speak any words in English.

He came from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where he spoke French. He was a student there and worked in a factory.

Lokumu said he came to the United States because of the poor conditions in the DRC.

“It’s very important for us to come here,” Lokumu said. “There aren’t jobs for everybody. The conditions are very difficult, and the government is not good.”

He has now been a student with the Carl Sandburg College Literary Coalition for about two years, where he attends a morning class on Tuesday and Thursday for six hours each week.

“I read very well, but I have some difficulty speaking English,” Lokumu said.

Lokumu works at Farmland Foods, in Monmouth, cutting meat, like many immigrants from the DRC.

Lokumu estimates that there are about 200 to 300 immigrants from the DRC in the Galesburg area.

Learning English is difficult for Lokumu because his family, friends and co-workers still speak French.

His English has improved since he started, and he hopes to return to college and eventually become a mechanic.

“That’s my dream here,” Lokumu said.

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Source: The (Galesburg) Register-Mail, https://bit.ly/1z03GFB

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Information from: The Register-Mail, https://www.register-mail.com


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