When I am asked why and how I got here in the Fargo-Moorhead area, my answer is pretty straightforward: Concordia College. Usually, this is followed by asking how I handle the weather and I spontaneously reply, “The glacial weather is balanced out by the warmth of the FM community.” Nonetheless, answering why I chose to stay here in the FM area after I graduated in December 2014 is when it gets interesting. I find myself constantly explaining these reasons to friends and family living in different areas of the United States or even those overseas that can barely put Fargo on the map. This is why I have decided to share with you my top five reasons why I whole-heartedly decided to stay in this emerging “Silicon Prairie.”
A woman from Kenya once told me, “Friends are the family you chose.” Since I am away from my biological Rwandan family, recreating a family in the FM area was vital. Guidance and extended open arms are paramount to friendship. The latter has been one of the core reasons why I am still here. Friendships, for professional and career growth, convert itself into mentorship, which solidifies your foundations in order to conquer the job market.
The six degrees of separation theory in Fargo is taken to an even smaller degree because anyone can be one, at maximum two, persons away from their next business partner, mentor, employer or employee. This is a game changer for anyone graduating from college wanting to kick off their career simply by interacting with people that can connect them to the right person. What’s even better is that people are very accessible and getting coffee with almost anyone is possible here in Fargo.
“Getting the job done!” should be a signature phrase of Fargo, because with the right people around the right table, you can overcome most of the challenges of the FM area. This empowers anyone who is lucky to be part of a cohort of community members devoted to making a change. I am honored to be part of several circles and organizations in town making a tangible impact into the community.
The rapid, dynamic and transformational stage of the FM area is mind expanding because these stages in other urban areas of the country are only seen in documentaries and books, whereas here, you can experience it live with your own eyes. Experiencing firsthand what developing a community looks like, with instances where you have a say as a community, is truly inspiring and empowering.
Finally, as a lifelong nomad, a citizen of the world and a Rwandan, I truly hope that my brief passage in the FM area will impact not only the people in my entourage but anyone who truly believes in fostering a community where people’s differences are celebrated and provoke curiosity, resulting in the realization that futilities differentiate us–rather, we have more in common than we can imagine because all of us want to be loved and to love, to belong in a community, to be heard and understood, to share a meal, to celebrate one another, etc. This, to me, would be the legacy I would love to leave behind me when I venture toward another corner of this fascinating globe.
Alexandre Cyusa went to the FM area in the fall of 2010 to attend Concordia College. Originally from Kigali, Rwanda, Cyusa has lived in Switzerland, Ethiopia, Guinea and France. His traveling experiences have helped him in making this world a smaller and simpler place to live in. He currently works for Folkways and is interested in community development and nurturing global citizenship.