The World In Fargo-Moorhead: ‘I Left My Village’


Photos courtesy of The World in Fargo-Moorhead

The World in Fargo-Moorhead shows the immense diversity of foreign-born residents now living in the Red River Valley—one portrait and story at a time. Modeled after Humans of New York, the project features portraits and interviews of immigrants, refugees, students and/or workers on temporary visas who live in the Fargo-Moorhead area.

The World in Fargo-Moorhead officially launched in September 2016 as an exhibit for Welcoming Week at the Main Public Library in downtown Fargo. It was created as a collaborative effort among photo enthusiasts to raise awareness about the range of cultures that define our area.

Each monthly, features five individuals photographed and interviewed by the participants in The World in Fargo-Moorhead. You can find more information about The World in Fargo-Moorhead project at, and

The World In Fargo-Moorhead is hosting an International Speed Friending event at Rabanus Park (4315 18th Ave. S., Fargo) Sunday, August 13th from 1 – 4 p.m. The event will have a speed friending where participants can talk with people from all over the world, Nepalese food provided by Everest Tikka House, an instant photo booth and Share-Your-Story stand. Learn more about the event here.

Gaba, Vijay, India, Matt Nordby

Vijay Gaba | India

Photo by Matt Nordby, Interview by Joan Dolence | @theworldinfm

“We love our Fargo-Moorhead community, not only as a community, but even as a workplace. . . . Every day we feel like going to hospital, to work. That’s the best feeling. In the morning, you wake up and you feel like going there, but at the end of the day, you feel like coming home also. So, that is a good feeling. We are blessed for these very reasons.”

Dr. Vijay Gaba is an Anesthesiologist at Sanford Hospital in Fargo.

Oveis Jalilian

Oveis Hassani Jalilian | Iran

Photo by Mohsen Tahmasebi | @theworldinfm

“I came to the U.S. in August 2014 to pursue my Ph.D. in agricultural and biosystems engineering because there are more opportunities to advance and the U.S. has a good reputation of funding research. North Dakota is infamous for its weather—it is cold, it is too cold.

“But the people are so nice, so warm. And that is what I like about North Dakota. There are people here who became my friends and my family with whom I shared my happiness and my sadness. Among the disadvantages, food is one, family is not here, and public transportation. But here, adults and kids sit together and play games. I really like that aspect of life here.”

Saru Pokharel, Nepal, Tyler Schafer

Saru Pokharel | Nepal

Photo by Tyler Schafer | @theworldinfm

“There are a lot of opportunities here if you are persistent.”

Saru came to Moorhead from Nepal on a student visa in 2008. When she arrived in the Red River Valley, she found that it looked very different than what she expected America to look like. “We had a misconception that America was like New York or Hollywood—the places we had seen in movies,” she says.

She quickly became accustomed to the Fargo-Moorhead area. In 2013, with the help of her partner Ben Dangi, she began planning her first business venture.

Everest Tikka House, specializing in Nepali and Indian cuisine, opened in the Moorhead Center Mall. A second restaurant, the Himalayan Yak, recently opened its doors in Fargo.

Yvette Nyamugisha, Congo DRC

Yvette Nyamugisha | Democratic Republic of Congo

Photo by Meg Luther Lindholm | @theworldinfm

“I left my village (in the DRC) because it was being attacked by rebels. I left with my brother, younger sister and four kids. I walked to Uganda, Kenya, Sudan and Ethiopia. I felt safe in Ethiopia, but I had to beg for food for my kids. I went to the U.N. (in Ethiopia) every day, five days a week in 2010, 2011, 2012, until October 2013. I would knock on doors and wait for (U.N.) workers to come out for lunch. I would follow them to ask for help.”

Zacharie Petnkeu, Cameroon

Zacharie Petnkeu | Cameroon

Photo by Mustafa Akhtar | @theworldinfm

“I’m proud to be from Cameroon. I’m proud to be an African and American, and I’m proud to be an educator.

“I have three things I would like to share with young foreigners who land in Fargo: First thing is education. Education is of good quality here. There are a lot of opportunities. Whoever you may be, try and take advantage of those opportunities and learn. Yes! LEARN! Absorb knowledge! That is the first thing.

“The second thing is education. [laughs] You come here not as an empty vessel. You have things that you can share with people, and the more you learn, the more you understand yourself and your roots, the more you can share your culture with people, since what you learn helps you improve what you have to share with people. To me, learning and sharing are important parts of the social integration process.

“The third thing is education! [laughs] So, first you learn, second you share, and third you apply what you learn to improve your life, your neighbor’s, the society in which you live, and to impact the world. And the world starts with your neighbor, you know? And you move from there to other places like your own land of origin, and you see what you can do to better people’s lives. Then you will be a happy person. This is my dream. This is what I always try to put in my kids in this environment as well as in my students: education, education, education.”

Interested In The Project?

Anyone interested in participating in the project can email or send a message on the project’s Facebook page. Newcomers are welcome to attend the project’s monthly meetings every third Wednesday of the month from 7 – 8 p.m. in the Fercho conference room at the Fargo Public Library, 102 N 3rd St., Fargo. The World In Fargo-Moorhead is also having a new exhibit open to the public at the Fargo Public Library from September 5 through the end of the month.


The money raised from your generous contribution will fund the following:

  • Photo prints, frames and text panels for our upcoming exhibit
  • Stipends for exhibit coordinators and our exhibit curator
  • Promotional materials including flyers, postcards and posters
  • Social media advertising
  • Miscellaneous materials needed to fund the project for the coming year. Help us keep The World in Fargo-Moorhead going. Your contribution is 100 % tax deductible. Any amount is appreciated.

* The fiscal sponsor for this fundraising effort is The Human Family, a 501c3 organization. So, your donation is tax deductible.