Family reunites after 10 years

Published: October 23, 2007 | 6746th good news item since 2003

After 10 years apart, a family reunited with their son at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport on Monday.

Alvan Ozana was just 12 years old when he was separated from his family while fleeing political violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“There was shooting everywhere, there were guns everywhere,” said Alvan’s father, Pierre Ozana.

Ozana worked as an advisor to the overthrown president and was told to leave the country or he would lose his life. Amidst the turmoil, his family became separated.

“We had to cross the river and that wasn’t easy,” explained Ozana, who along with his wife Stella came to Raleigh under political asylum. For years they thought their son Alvan was dead. A phone call in 2006 changed all that. A friend had found Alvan living on the streets in Africa.

“For me it is like a dream,” said Stella Ozana.

The family enlisted the help of the Triangle Red Cross, the Embassy in the Congo and Rep. Brad Miller’s office to help get their son into the United States.

“There were times Pierre would come in and I could tell he’d been up all night crying in frustration,” said Triangle Red Cross worker Tracie Thomason.

On Monday, those tears were for joy as Alvan finally arrived more than a year after that initial phone call.

“I am so happy, so happy,” said Alvan as he fell into the arms of his parents.

The family plans on letting Alvan get some rest after the long flight and then they want to hear all the details of his life during their separation.

The Triangle Red Cross says over the next few weeks it will help Alvan adjust to his new life in America.

Published in Reunited
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