As almost 1,400 Somali refugees poured in this nearly all-white New England town, the natives weren't quite sure what to make of them. Here were people who looked different, spoke little English and had little money. And expected this city of 35,000 to find them jobs and places to live.
But these Muslims from Africa, it turned out, shared many of Lewiston's small-town values. The Somalis wanted to raise their kids in a safe, quiet community where faith was important. As both groups discovered, things as simple as potluck dinners and henna hand painting can go a long way toward bridging a vast cultural divide.