Amjambo Africa is a 40-page tabloid newspaper, published monthly in seven languages that predominate in various parts of Africa. It is an insert in the Maine Sunday Telegram.

Published by Georges Budagu Makoko with the help of several corporate sponsors, it has been around for several years. Its reach, today, is beyond African communities and includes Afghan, Azerbaijani, Cambodian and other Asian communities living predominantly in Portland, Lewiston and other parts of southern and central Maine.

The current issue is amazing – the breadth of advertising support, people running for the Legislature, current events from Augusta focused naturally on the growing immigrant population in Maine, the variety of activities young immigrants are involved in, the variety of jobs these new residents of Maine have projected themselves into, the sophistication of the issues addressed – health care, alcohol and drug use, getting your documents together to get needed licenses, job opportunities, etc. The list goes on.

But more than anything, I was struck by the joy of the publication – the happiness of the Novruz (spring equinox) celebration, lots of smiling faces throughout. Young and old, people who have known great travail have not forgotten how to smile, how to get on with getting on.

The only face I recognized, Reza Jalali, goes back more than 25 years when we were both associated with the University of Southern Maine. In my mind, he exemplifies the spirit of this new community within our community. They are a treasure: a growing part of a better Maine for all of us.

Orlando Delogu

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