Our favorite news channel is KTVB, and one of my favorite things to watch on it is Brian Holmes’ Idaho Life. He reports on unique, wonderful, and Idaho-esque stories…
Yesterday’s story was about Pascal Karega, a young refugee from The Congo who spent over three years in a camp after escaping civil war in his native country. He’s now in America, working two jobs, studying to earn his high school diploma, and taking care of his younger brother.
There is a local group called the Praynksters who use the idea of a flash mob and turn it into an opportunity to do good and have a good giggle at the same time. They are a faith-based group who surprise people in need with some Christmas presents. And they organize other kinds of ‘giving mobs’.
The Praynksters met with Pascal for their recent giving mob.
EAGLE – It is the giving season and, once again, the “Praynksters” have surprised another person with a parade of presents.
It’s a typical weekday morning at The Griddle in Eagle. Diners are dining, cooks are cooking, and dishes are being diligently done in the back by Pascal Karega.
“Sometimes it gets a little crazy,” said Karega.
This job is another in a long list Karega’s had in the four years he’s lived in Idaho.
“I love working in the restaurant, it’s one of my favorite jobs,” he said.
“He had sort of a poise and charisma about him,” said his manager, Martin Oshiro, who hired Karega a few months ago.
“He’s got just a great spirit, he’s very uplifting, positive, he’s always smiling,” said Oshiro.
Which may be surprising considering where Pascal came from. He escaped the civil war in his home country of The Congo only to spend three and half years in a refugee camp in Zimbabwe. He doesn’t like to think about it.
“It is my country, I love my country. And it just makes me sometimes upset,” said Karega.
So instead he focuses on what’s ahead of him, even if that means at the age of 24 he is trying to earn a high school diploma, working two jobs six days a week, and watching over his younger brother.
“It has been a while since i slept for eight hours,” he said.
Even with as little time as he has, Karega was willing to sit down for an interview with what he thought was a documentary filmmaker.
“All I knew was he’s gonna come, do the interview and that would be it,” said Karega. But that wouldn’t be it.
Instead of being in a documentary about refugees, Karega was being made a recipient of the “Praynksters” giving mob.
“I think it was his story. We knew he had the right look and feel. It was just something divine that pulled us to Pascal,” said Jeff Agosta, a member of Praynksters.
One by one, more than two dozen strangers stopped and gave Karega a gift. And it didn’t stop there. The Praynksters also provided a wedding package for Karega and his fiance. And a local car company chipped in, too.
It was a moment Karega will never forget. And a reaction Agosta won’t either.
“He had that exhale of a lot of stress that’s been building up and it said, ‘Something’s paying off. I’m doing something right and somebody’s watching out for me,'” said Agosta.
Now Karega can continue to watch out for himself and his future, a long way from just taking up space in a refugee camp.
“You start planning because you see actually a way. It’s hard to start planning when you don’t know if there is even a way,” he said.
Karega plans to study business management in college after getting his diploma next year.
As for the Praynksters, they plan to do a giving mob again next year and hope to inspire others to give just a little of themselves.
If you would like to see the whole “Giving Mob” clip, click here.