BOISE -- Overcoming atrocities and flourishing. That's one way to describe a Boise man who was taken from his family in war-torn Congo at a young age to become an inspiration to many in this community.
Fidel Nshombo was honored Tuesday for his dedication.
Nshombo's early life was anything but the calm and peace he is now accustomed to in Boise.
“It all started when I was 12,” said Nshombo.
That's when war forced him out of the Congo, separating him from his family and forcing him to fend for himself. Over the next few years he journeyed through seven African countries, bouncing from refugee camp to refugee camp.
In 2006, Nshombo received a visa to enter the United States as a refugee.
“They took me to the airport gave me a package and they said you're going to this place and I read, 'Boise, Idaho.' It was the first time to hear that word. I had no clue it was in America -- so on the plane I kept asking people where I was going,” said Nshombo.
Nshombo says Boise is a stark contrast from where he came.
“I'm sleeping in a bedroom, everything neat around me, the fridge is full of food and there is TV and the lights are on every second and no gun shots, no people yelling, no people screaming, no people following me. So everything started happening fast and no time to reflect, so it all happened like a dream,” said Nshombo.
Here, Nshombo says he began planning for the future.
“I start acknowledging that this wasn't a dream -- this is it -- I have to use the most of it, I have to start planning of the future, which I never used to,” said Nshombo.
He volunteers to help other refugees tutoring, mentoring, and coaching.
His dedication to the city was noticed and on Tuesday afternoon he was honored by Boise Mayor Dave Bieter.
He was given a plaque and an American flag that once flew over the U.S. Capitol.
“Boise was a place I never dreamed of, was a place I never heard of, but today I know it's a place where I really needed to be all along,” said Nshombo.
Nshombo says the designation is something he never dreamed of.
“For me, I don't take it like giving back, I just take it like doing what a human being should do,” said Nshombo.
Last year, after more than 13 years, Nshombo was reunited with his family in Africa. Nshombo is also a published author, writing poetry about his experience. He uses those proceeds to help support his siblings' education in Africa.