Kisembo/Chirimwami family, 2021

Patrick Kisembo and Rosette Chirimwami's Story

Patrick and Rosette met working for the same humanitarian organization in Congo. Based out of Italy, COOPI (Cooperazione Internazionale) addresses poverty and hunger, especially for children in developing countries. They both worked closely with the children, Patrick as a nutritionist and Rosette as a physician’s assistant.

They married 4 years after they met and wanted to start a family, but were worried about raising children in Congo. Patrick said, “it was unstable and unsafe for kids and their futures would be unsure.” When they had the opportunity to come to Bloomington-Normal in 2015, they took it.

Rosette’s uncle and his family lived here and was a Habitat McLean County partner family from 2012, so Rosette & Patrick had a community that embraced them from the start. They also learned a lot about Habitat.

They found jobs - Patrick works for Cintas and Rosette is a nurse’s assistant in a local hospital – and began rebuilding their lives in the U.S. Their family has grown with two daughters and a son ages 6,4, & 2, while their 2-bedroom apartment has become more and more cramped. They knew they couldn’t continue to live in inadequate housing, so they applied to Habitat McLean County. They were accepted and will be a 2021 partner family.

Patrick and Rosette have already started on their sweat equity hours. They were able to work at the ReStore and help on two houses from the 2019 build season before everything was shut down due to the pandemic. Although the exact lot location has yet to be determined, they expect to start building on their own house this spring.

Patrick is a huge fan of This Old House and is looking forward to the build. “I helped build my dad’s house in my home country,” said Patrick. He knows the construction of his Habitat house will be different from the one he helped his dad build. With a big smile, he adds, “I like to learn, and I learn quickly.”