Machozi and her family have gone through copious struggles and strife to make it to this point in their lives. They were victims of war, refugees, and now building a stable life in America. But no matter what happened, they kept going and used the hardships to grow stronger as a family and as individuals.
Machozi and all her children were born in the Congo and fled when her youngest was just a year old during the second civil war. The violence of the war claimed her husband and was the catalyst for them to leave the country. She and her children would run from village to village, staying where they could and slowly making their way to a refugee camp in Tanzania. They would end up in that refugee camp for 11 years before coming to the United States.
Even after coming to Knoxville, the family saw their share of violence. Machozi was in bed one night when someone open fired on their apartment complex. She was miraculously in the one place where her head was safe; everywhere else was littered with bullet holes. When investigators came, they were amazed she was okay and lived through the shooting.
To gain distance from the violence, Machozi’s family moved into a new apartment that is not large enough for all of them but is in a safer area. While they do not have to worry about gun violence, the new apartment comes with its own challenges, especially after Machozi had open-heart surgery in 2020. Due to the pandemic and her vulnerable state, Machozi could not stay in the hospital for her full recovery and needed to be discharged early. This led to complications with her healing as she needs to share her room with her two grandchildren in the crowded three-bedroom. The family is so excited to move into a home that can house them all comfortably.
Siam, Machozi’s son, emphasized how family-oriented and close his family is. Every generation strives to make sure life for the future generation is better. Going back to his great-grandparents, Siam spoke of how they made choices that would benefit everyone in their line. “Just because you might not live long enough to enjoy something doesn’t mean you can leave it so dysfunctional.” In that spirit, Machozi’s children are all in college and wanting to make the world a better place. Siam is currently enrolled as a pre-med student at the University of Tennessee and working two jobs as a caretaker. While working more than 70 hours a week, he is still making sure that his family is cared for. Machozi has also started back at work packing boxes, although she is unable to work full time due to her recovery.
This family is so inspirational and has remained so strong throughout everything in life. They are committed to one another and making a better life for generations to come. The work ethic that every member exudes is unparalleled, and they have worked so hard for everything they have and refuse to give up.