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Connecting with Samedi

Samedi Djeimguero with English as a Second Language instructor Janet Goldhamer at Oak Grove High School in San Jose, Calif. Photo courtesy of the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

Cheers to the Santa Cruz Sentinel in California for this article about Samedi Djeimguero, a 17-year-old immigrant from the Central African Republic.

The story demonstrates the hard work and dedication of social workers. Samedi’s parents were killed under uncertain circumstances and Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County brought him to the United States from a refugee camp in Chad.

Samedi speaks only Sango, a language spoken by fewer than two million people, and is struggling to learn English. Thuy Tran, a social worker at Catholic Charities, has made calls around the nation to find someone to help her and others at Oak Grove High School communicate with Djeimguero.

Tran found one local Rwandan man who claims to know a little Sango and another person in Kentucky. But these resources are not enough and Djeimguero needs a better translator to undergo counseling for what Tran thinks is post traumatic stress disorder.

According to the state department the Central African Republic’s government has abused its citizens through rape, torture and extrajudicial executions. It is also one of the poorest nations in the world and has a high crime rate.

“When he drew a picture, he drew two people shackled together,” Tran said. Others suspect Samedi may have been a child soldier.

Please help Samedi. If you know the language Sango or Kaba, or know anyone who does, please contact Thuy Tran, social worker at Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County at 408-325-5173 or




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