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Red River flooding: Bemidji hosts students from Moorhead

Concordia College students Nashipay Kiria, left, and Faraja Kurubai talk about their stay at Concordia Language Villages near Bemidji while the Moorhead campus was closed in response to flooding. Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper

As floodwaters threatened the Red River Valley area, more than 50 college students from Moorhead have made the Bemidji area their temporary home.

More than a week ago, Bemidji State University opened its doors to about 30 students from Minnesota State University Moorhead.

Around the same time, Concordia Language Villages near Bemidji began housing 26 Concordia College students at Waldsee, the German language village.

Faraja Kurubai, a junior at Concordia College, said she believes it means a lot to the students to stay at CLV because many of them are international students.

Kurubai, who is from Tanzania, said she and her roommate, senior Nashipay Kiria, who also is from Tanzania, were originally hoping to stay with friends. However, on the morning the bus was scheduled to leave for CLV, they decided to join other students to stay there.

"It's a good place," she said.

Besides providing lodging, CLV is providing meals for the Concordia College students.

"It's like a vacation place," said Qi Luo, a junior from China.

Back in Moorhead, before coming to CLV, Concordia College students - including Kurubai and Luo - helped with sandbagging.

"Everybody went ... sandbagging," Luo said.

While staying at CLV, the students have been doing homework, playing music, snowshoeing, playing chess and watching movies. They've also been helping out around CLV.

Martin Graefe, director of year-round programs at CLV, said four of the students - three who speak French and one who speaks German - served as counselors during CLV's Village Weekends programs.

Also, two students who speak French helped with French instruction at nearby Schoolcraft Learning Community and two faculty scholars from Tanzania visited Heartland Christian Academy. There, they worked with the choir teacher, who is teaching students a song in Swahili. The faculty scholars helped with the pronunciation of words and gave context to the song.

The Concordia College students planned to return to Moorhead today. Classes are scheduled to resume Monday.

Just miles away, Sunghee Kin, Emi Maezawa and Haena Kanj are among the Minnesota State University Moorhead students staying at BSU.

"I'm glad to have some place to stay," said Kanj, a sophomore from South Korea.

The students are roommates in Moorhead and had to evacuate the house where they live.

"We didn't bring anything," Kanj said. "Maybe two or three books. We were in a hurry at the time."

Maezawa, a senior from Japan, said she really appreciates the opportunity to stay at BSU.

"They provide so many things," she said.

BSU has provided students with meals, wireless Internet access and items including blankets and pillows.

While in Bemidji, the three students went ice fishing for the first time. They also visited downtown Bemidji, played board games with students from BSU, stopped by BSU's library and Gillett Recreation-Fitness Center, and toured other areas of campus.

"It's a pretty campus," said Kin, a sophomore from South Korea.

Like Concordia College, Minnesota State University Moorhead is scheduled to resume classes Monday.