Life as a Refugee

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My name is Tehune. I was born in Uganda but by nationality I am an Ethiopian. I have a little brother, Ashu, and my parents are Tigist, my mother, and Genetu, my dad. I had been living in Uganda for twelve years. Since l had been born in Uganda, l have never seen my other family members. In Uganda I had two best friends Betty and Hana. Both of them used to go to the same school as l did. They are from Ethiopia. I still remember those days we used to read books together near the river. We all lived in the the same community. At the age of 6, my family members, and I moved to a refugee camp where a lot of different nationalities lived in. That’s where l met Betty and Hana. In the camp every nationality lives in a different zone. Each zone represented a country the person came from. For example there was the Sudan zone, Somali, Ethiopian, Rwanda, and Congo zone. Everybody speaks Swahili. It’s  how everyone could communicate with each other. At first I couldn’t understand anything people told me. I kept quiet like a mute but after a few years l learned, and spoke properly.

At the camp people’s life wasn’t so easy. Differences in cultures separated people amongst each other. Ethiopians mostly had a lot of problems. As years went by, with all the fighting going on, living in the camp was life threatening. Time to Time a lot of people died of poisoning and also a common disease called Malaria. In just a few years my dad had lost his two good friends. Those days were so depressing.

One day, in the dark night, everyone was in a deep sleep. Suddenly my dad woke up. Seeing him l wondered asking “why are you awake?’’ He answered “l heard a voice mumbling in the wall”. He then flashed the lights on and opened the door. There he saw digging on the front of our house. I was scared kneeling to the door. Not knowing who he was or what he wanted to do, my dad followed him running but came back empty-handed. The man was gone. He then called the police men. All they did was take some pictures and said they will do investigations.

Three months passed without any evidence from the police men. My dad’s patience got tired. The policemen didn’t do anything so my dad had to take action. He started to investigate about why the man  was digging near our house. He searched for him for about three months, and finally found him in another village far from the camp. The first question which came to his mind was “why did you dig the hole?’’ No answer came out of his mouth. Silence shut him down, shivering to see my dad. I was there too, right in front of him. At once l became amused as well as powerless. Again my dad asked the same question. No answer again but something else came out of his mouth. He said  ‘’l will only  answer if you don’t take me to the police, and have me arrested’’ That was a yes for father. He started by saying that it was to poison  your children family, and friends. ‘’Oh my God, why?’’ ‘’it’s because your neighbour told me so.’’ I shut down at once looking at dad. I couldn’t hold my tears, I felt doomed, and couldn’t talk because of fear. Dad didn’t say a word. He took me out of there, and looked at my face. ‘’No worries’’ he said.

The next day, my father and l went to the police station with the man. He told them everything but dad never got him arrested. Since then our neighbour has refused to talk to us. Thankfully we had started a process to America. After one year of our process we got our visa, and father told us we shall leave in a month. After a medical checkup and orientation we came to America by the help of IOM on the way. After I came  to America , for a few weeks life was hard. School was confusing for me but not as bad as in Uganda when my teacher beat me up until my back got swollen. As time went by, I got used to the culture of America. I became free for once at least in life. Free of my problems, depression, and isolation. No matter what life will bring in the future, I know l can never give up because l have learnt from my story.

      

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