After her father's death, her mother and six siblings escaped from Afghanistan to Pakistan. On that bus ride out, another one of her brothers was abducted. It would be 10 years before he was reunited with the family.
She pauses even to answer a simple question like: How old are you?
"I think I am 22."
All she knows is that she finished only first grade. The next time she went to school was in Atlanta. She was placed in seventh grade.
Far behind in every subject and in her English skills, Hussain struggled to gain back what she had lost. In high school, she asked for a transfer from a predominantly refugee school to one that boasted more academic prowess. She wanted to be the first person in her family to make it to college.
It was difficult to understand the teacher. She sat for hours with homework, translating line by line.
Because of her brother's death, Hussain missed school in her first semester at Berry and will be graduating in December. She is working this summer as an intern at the local chapter of the International Rescue Committee, which helps refugee families start anew in America.
For the other students, the first semester proved hard.
Jeffrey Lidke thought they might not pass his rigorous world religions class. Several failed the first exam on indigenous religions.
One of the questions asked, "What is the symbolism of the Sacred Hoop of Black Elk?"
"It's not an easy course by any standard," Lidke said. "I did not baby them in any way."
He now thinks of that class as one of the most rewarding he's ever taught. Part of it was that he had students from other faiths and cultures who added to the discussion.
"My other students were able to see Muslims in a different light," he said.
Last year, several of the students launched the Berry Muslim Heritage Group. Hussain is the current president.
"I knew college would be difficult for them," Lidke said.
But he was not surprised four years later to see them don cap and gown.
'A great day'
Certain childhood moments burn bright in Mireille Kibibi's memory: the Hutus bombing her neighbors, bodies everywhere and the last time she saw her mother. She's had to grow up not knowing where her mother is. Is she even alive?
"It is in the past," Kibibi said. She has to put it aside in order to make her future.
But it creeps up sometimes when she doesn't expect it. She said her friends at Berry had no way of understanding.
It was most difficult when her friends complained about their parents.
"Stop being a baby," Kibibi would say.
They should feel lucky to have parents, Kibibi thought. But her friends thought her rude.
"I let my emotions get to me," Kibibi said.
Now that she has her degree, she wants to pursue a master's in accounting or business administration. On campus, she blossomed as a library student supervisor, and university officials said Kibibi was well on her way into a professional life.