Specials Little Bill Clinton

  • A school year in the life of a new American

  • The latest from Bill Clinton’s expanding family – and sister Neema!

    "What's happening with Bill's sister?" More than a year after the Little Bill Clinton series officially ended, I still hear that question all the time from readers. Today, we finally have some answers - as well as a new story in this week's Monitor magazineabout an exciting development in Bill's life, and big changes in his family.You may remember Bill's long-lost sister, Neema John, and his nephew, Toni Joseph, whom I visited in Tanzaniain 2009. Neema was separated from her family when they resettled in Atlanta, and since 2007, her parents have been fighting to reunite with her in a legal saga plagued by uncertainty and delays. But over time, as deadlines have come and gone, their reunification case has made creeping progress. In August 2009, US Immigration finally approved now-22-year-old Neema to join her family.But now-6-year-old Toni was another matter. On the advice of Chau Ly, the family reunification specialist at their resettlement agency, his grandparents applied for humanitarian parolefor Toni - the same legal status that was granted to Haitian orphans who came to the US after the earthquake. The application documented the boy's unstable living situation, and his grandparents' ability to support him.

  • Caught in a refugee resettlement tangle

  • A Monitor wrap-up interview with Mary

  • For Bill and Igey: saying goodbye

    Dear Bill and Igey, When we first met, I wondered if you would grow up to read these stories. Your teachers were worried about you learning to read, and neither of you had really seen the Internet, so it seemed like it would be a long time before that happened.

  • Bill Clinton and Igey head back to school

    The boys piled out of the house this morning in fresh white shirts and uniform pants, giant backpacks flapping behind them. The new school year began today at the International Community School, and as our year-long series ends, Bill and Igey are starting fourth and second grades.

  • End of third grade, and standing on solid ground

    On the final day of his 3rd-grade year, a grinning Bill Clinton Hadam made brownies, caught water balloons, played foursquare, feasted on candied apples and chicken wings, and read aloud in several classes. As his teachers explain in our newest audio slideshow, at right, he seemed like a different kid from the sad, shy boy who entered their classes last August.

  • As fast as speeding soccer ball – the school calendar

    It's hard to believe the new school year begins on Monday; it feels like Bill's third grade year just ended.

  • Bill Clinton, heartthrob

    He's a sweet, gentle, handsome boy. After a year of watching his interactions with the girls in his class, it shouldn't have been a surprise. But in May, I learned that the shy Bill Clinton Hadam had become something of a third grade heartthrob.

  • Bill, the smiling soccer star

    For his first year at the International Community School, Bill Hadam struggled with English and cried in every class. The only place the young refugee looked comfortable was on the soccer field.

  • Igey’s surgery is a lens on his sense of humor

    Since Igey came to the International Community School two years ago, teachers have been worried about his health. The soon-to-be second-grader misses a great deal of school, and has coughs that drag on for months. He had surgery on his left ear in the refugee camp that left him with a small wound behind his ear that did not close. Last month, he and his family went to Emory-Children's Center, at Atlanta's Emory University, for surgery to close it.

  • A hope-filled farewell to Neema

    I spent my last day in Tanzania with Neema and Briton. When Toni spotted me walking down the path to their house, he ran up and gave me one of his somber leg-hugs. So began the strangest and most wonderful day I spent with them. It ended with tears, and the hope of a journey. But it started with a shock.

  • The friends Little Bill Clinton left behind in Africa

    Until they were 6, Bill and his friends Emmanuel and Jean-Jacques lived together in Mkugwa, a camp of 2,000 Central African refugees in Northwest Tanzania. Their parents were close friends, and the boys grew up sharing meals, soccer games, wheelbarrow rides. Then, in October 2006, everything changed.

  • Mkugwa’s mark on Little Bill Clinton

    All this year, I've been wondering about the first six years of Bill's life, in Mkugwa refugee camp.

  • Changing gender roles in Tanzania’s refugee camps

    The men sat around in a circle of chairs and benches, smoking, chatting, and playing board games. Their wives spent hours cooking, cleaning, tending kids, and hauling five-gallon water buckets from the pump on their heads. Men had first, last, and nicknames. Women were known by their kids: Mama Grace, Mama Elisa, Mama Billy. The gender roles in Kanembwa refugee camp, in northwestern Tanzania, seemed plenty strict to me.

  • Brave or foolish: Friends weigh in on Neema’s choice to run away

    Why did Neema do it? In Tanzania, I spent a lot of time trying to understand more - emotionally and culturally - about the decision Bill Clinton's sister made as a young teen to run away and leave her family.Neema says she regrets the choice to flee the camp after her rape by two older boys - as do her parents. In Mtabila camp, old friends Jean-Paul Rukundo and his wife were sympathetic, but as parents of eight children, they said they couldn't support her decision. Friends Eva Sango and her husband, whom I met in Kanembwa camp awaiting their resettlement overseas, saw the whole thing as a tragedy. But no, the parents of five agreed, Neema shouldn't have run away.Not until near the end of my visit to Kanembwa, when I stole a cool moment on the floor of Eva's mud-brick house, did I hear another story.

  • Little Bill Clinton’s celebrity dad

    Two. That's how many friends Hassan and Dawami told me they had in refugee camps in Tanzania as I prepared to go there. Thanks to the generous help of the United Nations refugee agency, I planned a week of travel around these five words: "Jean-Paul Rukundo, Mtabila" and "Eva, Kanembwa."

  • Life in Tanzania’s refugee camps

  • The ambassador’s visit

    It was an awkward assignment. When acting US Ambassador to Tanzania Larry Andre pulled into Mtabila refugee camp in April, in a convoy of mud-darkened Land Cruisers that disgorged a crowd of United Nations and government officials and embassy personnel, he looked uncomfortable.Before he stepped into the thick orange mud, I had never actually seen my country being represented overseas, person-to-person. Larry, a veteran Africa hand, had arrived at this camp of 40,000 Burundians in northwest Tanzania to deliver an uncomfortable message: Uncle Sam does not want you. What I saw that afternoon made me both proud and embarrassed to be an American.

  • Independence Day

    Last 4th of July, Bill's family was new to the country, and terrified by the fireworks, which sounded to his Rwandan mom like war had broken out. This year they've become comfortable enough in the US that this Independence Day, I wasn't worried about them: They planned to hit the holiday sales. I was worried about another family, though.

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