The civil war in Sudan began when Terensio was about to enter his freshman year of high school.
At the age of 16, and with a passion to build a better life for himself, Terensio left in the middle of the night to seek refuge in Ethiopia. He knew that if his mom learned of his plans to flee, she would beg him not to go because of his disability – Terensio has the use of just one arm and hand.
Enduring days of walking through semi-desert terrain and nights of exhaustion, raids and looting, Terensio and a group of travelers arrived at an Ethiopian refugee camp 3 months later.
Over the next 13 years, Terensio finished his high school education and became a teacher in the camp. In 1999, after waiting 18 months from when he first applied, the United Nations helped him relocate from Ethiopia to Louisville.
Without knowing how he would earn a living, where he was going to live, or anyone in Louisville, Terensio never lost sight of his dreams – achieving a better life for himself.
After much hard work of finding a job and an apartment, learning English, and teaching himself how to drive, Terensio was ready to invest in a home. He applied and was accepted into Habitat’s homeownership program and moved into his new home in 2010.
“It’s been a humbling experience,” says Terensio. “Owning a home comes with many excitements: a sense of security and stability, peace of mind, privacy and freedom.”
And, we’re thrilled to share that Terensio paid off his mortgage early this past October. “Paying off my mortgage is a ‘dream come true’ moment. I feel extremely proud and accomplished,” Terensio shares. “I have been in a constant struggle for a better life since I was 16. I haven’t seen my parents or relatives since that day when I first left but I know that they are proud of the life I’ve built.”
As for Terensio’s next goal? Years back, he earned his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Management and is now ready to obtain his master’s degree.
“I am grateful… I am so very grateful for just life in general. When it’s all said and done, I want to be remembered as a man of strength with patience and tenacity. “