GREENSBORO, N.C. -- After five years of searching, and thousands of miles, a mother, father and six children are together again.
To make this miracle happen, several
agencies from multiple states, countries and even continents had to work
together. Now, that family, from a small village in the Central African
Republic, is happily reunited in the Triad.
"This is going to be a magical day for me and I will never forget this
day, ever in my life," said 14-year-old
Elsa Kotagonda. This is the first time Elsa will see her father and her twin
brother in five years.
2008, an attack on their African village split them apart. Honorine Ningatoloum
and four of her children ran in one direction. Her husband and three fled in
and her children came to Greensboro as refugees. It took years, but several
Triad groups were able to track down their missing family members. On Tuesday, all
that hard work paid off when their father and brother flew from Africa to the
"Everybody's smiling and
laughing so it's a happy moment," said Elsa. A reunion of eight family members, including mother and son, and husband and
local Red Cross chapter played a big role in bringing them together.
"It's kind of like Christmas, New Years, my 21st birthday, Thanksgiving,
everything all rolled into one," said Rosemary Spezzo, who works for Red Cross International Services
but is based here in the Triad.
Now, the family is looking forward to a sense of normalcy and acclimating to
their new home, as one unit. "Spend time, talk about stuff, eat dinner, have a family moment," said
A crude, hand-drawn map is
where it all started. Honorine drew it for local Red Cross workers to show
where she lived in Africa. This illustration played a part in helping track
down her missing family members.
family is still attempting to reunite with their seventh child. She's married with
two kids. The family knows where she is in Africa. Now, they're
working on bringing her to the Triad as well.
WFMY News 2