As Charles and his family left a Tanzanian refugee camp in late January, bound for a new life in Pittsburgh, he allowed himself to feel hopeful. “When I arrived at the airport, I felt that hardness just ripped off,” he said, speaking in French. “But that stayed for only two weeks. Then the coronavirus came.”
Charles, who asked that I not use his full name to protect his family’s privacy, was born in the town of Baraka, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but spent most of his adult life in the camp in Tanzania after the 1996 war drove him out.