ST. CLOUD -- In our fifth installment of the "Changing Faces: The New Look of Central Minnesota" series, WJON caught up with two local immigrants to capture their perspective.

Mayuli Bales and Haji Yusuf Abu are two local immigrants from opposite sides of the world. Both are strangers to each other but share a similar connection with their experience establishing permanent roots and becoming leaders within the community.


Mayuli Bales

Bales is the executive director of Casa Guadalupe out of Cold Spring, a non-profit organization that aims to improve the quality of life for Latinos in the area. Originally from Mexico, Bales came to the U.S. in 1991 on a Fiancé Visa when she was 29-years-old.

Bales says when she first came to Central Minnesota she was looked at as an outsider.

(Click play to hear comments from Mayuli Bales.)


Mayuli Bales works as executive director at Casa Guadalupe in Cold Spring to improve the lives of Latinos in the area. (Photo by Ashli Gerdes, WJON News)


 Haji Yusuf Abu

Abu is the project developer for St. Cloud Somali Radio, an online radio station developed by St. Cloud State University's college station, KVSC.  He came to the U.S. in 2002. His native country has been experiencing a civil war for the past 21 years.

There are about 10,000 Somali refugees living in Central Minnesota. Abu says many Somalians are trying to make the best of a bad situation.

(Click play to hear comments from Haji Yusuf Abu.)

Abu says although the community hasn't reached full acceptance of the Somali community, progress is being made.

The two say their struggles are the same as any other group of people throughout U.S. history coming to America, acceptance will come with time.



This is part five of a five part series, examining immigrant populations in Central Minnesota.