Although other refugees with similar histories of persecution and marginalization, such as the Hmong from Southeast Asia, have resettled in the United States, no such large group of African immigrants from one minority group has come to the United States. As would be the case with other farmers from rural Africa, the Bantu will face a culture and civil society in America that is as foreign to them as any on earth.
The Bantu have a very strong sense of family and community. This strength can work to overcome some of the challenges they will face in the United States. Moreover, they have proven time and again that they can adapt to extremely difficult and new situations.
Although the Bantu come from a rural farming region, many have been living in large camps with approximately 40,000 other refugees.The Bantu’s ability to accept virtually any job in Somalia and Kenya in order to provide for their families will serve them well in the United States. Their hard-working and resourceful nature will help Bantu women find and keep jobs in the United States.
The Bantu are a rural people who practice traditional beliefs. Like other rural east African people, the use of herbs in traditional medical practices is common. Religious healing, such as prayer, is also frequently used. Some Bantu women, accompanied by traditional healers, perform ritual ceremonies, known as Gitimiri or Audara, to cast off illness and evil spells. Other such healing techniques are practiced among the Bantu and other Somali groups.The Somali Bantu population in the Utica area is approximately 700.