SOLANGE, NSHIMIYE, ELYSEE, RIZUAN, HANEEN, DANIEL, AYE MI, HASSEN & YARKALIMAH | CONTRIBUTORS
At a time when our country has been called to investigate our patriotism, we look to the refugee students at Aurora Central to remind us of our allegiance by answering the question: What is Liberty?
I began my journey in Congo, life before the war was good. We planted our own food, we had cows and we played with our friends, but we always feared the war would come to our village. When I was 12 years old I lived in a place called Minembwe. Our village had a civil war, we ran into the bushes to hide. There were a lot of bombs and they were setting fire to the houses. We started to run away from the war, we passed through Rwanda and Uganda, we finally met a businessman from Kenya while we were on the road. He took us to Nairobi where we lived for four years, I was a student there. The life was there was hard, I didn’t speak Swahili or English. There was a lot of tribalism and Congolese were not treated well. On February 12th, we received news that our whole family could go to the United States. We felt happy because I was told by my friends that in America there is more opportunities for jobs and could receive a good education. Now, I live in Aurora, where I live in peace and harmony.
My journey began in Rwanda, where I was born but my parents were born in Congo. They came to Rwanda as refugees and lived at a camp. Life at the camp was very hard, because we would only get food once a month. In school there were 40 students per class. There are no jobs at the camps. I grew up there and lived there for 18 years. We received good news that we might have a chance to go to the US, but it took four years to get the final news that we were going. It was incredible and amazing for all of us because we were poor refugees. We thought we were going to have a good life and it would be happy. Now I live in Aurora, my life is different, I have food and a good education, I live in peace.
My journey began in Tanzania. When I was three years old I moved with my mom to Congo because my dad died. We lived in Congo for two years, the war started to get worse, we took a boat to back to Tanzania but we became refugees in Nyargusu camp. Life at the camp was very difficult, my mom didn’t have a job, they gave us food once a month, but they had a school. We lived there for nine years until we found we could come to the USA, when they told me, it was like a dream. I felt happy and my first day in America was amazing. Now I live in Aurora, my life is good because I can eat when I want, I’m going to school and I feel safe.
My journey began in Myanmar. When I was 12 years old there was a lot of fighting. I talked to my dad, there was nothing there for me to do. I left and took a boat to Thailand by myself, but I had friends. I only took a backpack with a water bottle and food. In Thailand, I spent two weeks. I made it to Malaysia where I worked. I had an uncle in the US, so I call him and the UN called me in 2015 to tell me I could come to the US. Now I live in Aurora with my uncle.
My journey began in Iraq, even though I am from Palestine. When the war began in Baghdad, we fled to Yemen, I was 2 years old. We had to travel to Jordan first, to get to Yemen. When I was 7 years old, I moved to Cyprus, which was a nice place. We were able to attend school, I lived there for four years. I felt safe, but there were some problems, we couldn’t get citizenship. After that we moved to Turkey, but life was hard. We went to jail for36 days, the entire family, after that we were not allowed to go to school. We had to wait to come to America. Finally, in 2016 I was able to move to the US. We felt so happy and excited to have a new, peaceful life. Now I live in Aurora, I feel happy and safe.
My journey began, in Tanzania at a refugee camp. My parents moved from Congo to Tanzania because of the war. My father as a teacher in Congo, but he had to leave. There were a lot of bombs and many people were killed, so they fled. Life in the camp was so hard, there was hardly any food. We only got a big food supply once a month and we ate twice a day. My dad was sick but there is no medical care so he died. I lived at the camp for 17 years. When I found out we were coming to the U.S., I was so happy. I had to say goodbye to my friends, auntie and uncle. Now I live in Aurora, I feel safe, good and happy.
My journey began in Thailand. I am Paoh, a small ethnic group in Myanmar and Thailand. When I was two-years-old my parents divorced and I lived with my Grandma and Auntie at the camp. My Grandparents had fled Myanmar during the military regime. I worked a lot at home and wasn’t going to school. My mom wanted me to stay at home to help and not attend school. In 2011, my grandmother left to go to the USA. When my Grandma left, I was very sad, I hoped to join her in the U.S. In 2013 my Grandfather died. In 2016, I got the news that I could join my Grandma in the U.S. I was so happy. Now I live in Aurora, life is good because I have friends, I live with my Grandma and I can go to school.
My journey began in Ethiopia, although I am from Somalia. My parents left Somalia because of the civil war. Life is Somalia was hard, tribes were fighting and famine. My father worked for the Somali government and then became in Imam at the camp. The camp is located in a Somalian territory of Ethiopia. Life at the camp was not good, we didn’t have good education or healthcare. We barely had food. We didn’t feel happy in the land of Ethiopia; they took our land. When the UN told my family we could move to the U.S. I feel happy because I knew that when we moved here I could go to school and send money home. Now I live in Aurora, my life is good, I like my teachers and school.
My journey began in Myanmar. When I was 9 years old, we took a boat to Thailand. The journey was 7 days without food, I was very sea sick and my mom thought I wouldn’t make it. We arrived in Thailand and spent five days, then crossed the border into Malaysia. Life in Malaysia wasn’t too bad, although we did not get school unless we paid for it. When I heard that we got the news to go to the U.S. I was really happy and excited. Now I live in Aurora, I feel excited every day about my new life and future.