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Mushwamba "Suzanne" Muvundamina

Mushwamba "Suzanne" Muvundamina

Congolese-American Nurse

Born: Lubumbashi, Congo (Brazzaville)
Heritage: Congolese

Listen to your parents. Listen to those who are older and who have authority. Be respectful towards other people. Have a goal in your life. You can become what you want to become if you work hard.

Mushwamba "Suzanne" Muvundamina

Congolese-American Nurse

My full name is Mushwamba Suzanne Muvundamina. To make it easy for people I have them call me by my middle name, which is Suzanne.

I was born in the southern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. My parents had thirteen children. I am the second oldest and all my siblings are still living. Of the thirteen children there’s one set of twins.

My father is still living and my mother passed away here in the United States 9 years ago. I grew up in Lubumbashi and went to elementary and high school in Lubumbashi.

My goal was to help other people. I joined a group with the Red Cross. I became a nurse in 1979. I worked in a small hospital for a couple of years, which is where I met my husband. He was visiting his cousin there.

I continued to work at the hospital for 6 years after we got married and then my husband wanted more schooling. He got accepted to the University of Washington. We moved to the United States in 1985.

I ended up in Minnesota after my husband finished his schooling in Washington. He is a chemical engineer and got a job at the University of Minnesota. He taught there for 7 years. Now he works for a chemical company in St. Paul where he does research.

We have four children. Two boys and two girls. Our oldest son is married now and lives in Kansas with his wife. The other three are teenagers 19, 18, and 16. The 19 year old is in college; the 18 and 16 year olds are in high school. They go to St. Anthony High School.

When my oldest son was in elementary school he went to Pillsbury and it was next to a nursing home. They had a program through his school where they would go the nursing home and read to the residents of the nursing home. I am now working at this nursing home, which is called Bethany Covenant Village.

I like working at the nursing home because I enjoy taking care of the residents and talking with them about their lives, their children and about what they love.


To Do What I Can to Help

Honoring Mushwamba "Suzanne" Muvundamina

To Do What I Can to Help

My home, my family, my parents taught me well.
My dream, my passion, to do what I can to help.

I was born in the southern part of the Congo
Speaking Swahili, Chiluba, and French
Twelve siblings, one set of twins
We had to learn to share,
We even had to share our beds
My parents taugh us to care,
So we didn’t lose our heads

Mother liked it clean, so we had to sweep,
Had to iron our clothes, even iron our sheets
Studied by candle light,
and then we’d go outside
And hear stories by the fire
underneath the starlight.

Growing up we made our own toys
Dolls for the girls, wire cars for the boys
When I was a kid, I did what I was told
There were certain places we could not go,
Growing up my parents taught me,
To help others, those in need

Since I was a child, I wanted to help,
People who were hurt
and couldn’t help themselves,
So I went to school to become a nurse,
because I had a soft heart
and put others first

I studied hard, and got my nursing degree.
I worked in the hospital, in Lubumbashi
Where I met a special man,
We later got married,
Then he got accepted,
To Washington University

I didn’t know the language
had to go back to school,
My friends took me
to the library my greatest tool
So I Learned English with, my oldest son,
Watching Sesame Street on public television

Next to my son’s school
There was a nursing Facility
Where we would read books
It was a noble deed
He would read to the residents
This, he like to do
So cam home to me and asked
If I would work next to his school

Said yes and I’ve worked there ever since,
I like working with the residents,
Hearing about their lives and their children
And hearing all about the old days
again and again

Words and Lyrics by Anthony Galloway with Krista Johnson’s 3rd Grade Class of Wilshire Park Elementary School.
St. Anthony Village, Minnesota

© Anthony Galloway 2009 / BMI