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I Learn Library

A human library inspired by the stories in the film

Letter to my friend Davis

By Anselme Dembassa  |   From : Central African Republic  |   School : Bloomfield High School

December 4, 2017

Dear Davis,

 

I never wrote you a letter after you went back to your country, France, to tell you how much I miss you. It’s been ages since we last spoke. Sorry I haven’t been in contact recently. I’ve been meaning to write to you for the last couple of months, but I just haven’t gotten around to doing it. Sorry for my laziness.

 

I still remember everything we did together when we were in Bangui, Central African Republic. I think about it every day when I look at that picture you gave me before you got on the plane to France, you and I, our hands on the shoulders of the other.  It means so much to me. You still are my best friend, Davis, just to let you know, brother!  I hope everything is good on your side and your family also.   I’m doing great but I’m living now in the United States.  I finally found my way after a long time, more than 3 months here, and this country gives the chance to have a great opportunity for my life.  Davis, I want to tell you a little story about my life as an immigrant in the USA because that’s what they call us.

 

After my grandmother died and you went back to France, my life changed, everything changed about me, and I couldn’t even understand myself. It was hard,  and it was like starting at the beginning. Every day, I was crying because I thought everybody left and left me alone, but it was just the beginning of another interesting story. My grandmother wanted to go to the USA.   That’s what she had planned, so I left my country for another to be an immigrant. When I first came to the USA, it was magic, beautiful, wonderful and pretty nice because it is the most powerful country in the world. My heart was broken because my grandmother wasn’t here, so it became a challenge to live in this country.

 

It was my first time in this country so everything was  difficult for me: the language, the conditions of life, the weather, the school. But after a few years and months I learned the language and I was trying to communicate in school especially with the teachers. I did not have friends, no close relationships with anyone. It was hard for me to adapt in this country.   I was now an immigrant.  Being an immigrant can be hard sometimes and that’s what I lived. So everything I was living in this country was in my mind and my heart, bad or good, but I couldn’t tell anybody what was going on in my life as an immigrant. So I couldn’t tell my story as an immigrant. It was then that something was going to happen.

A documentary that I saw at school was going to change everything. That documentary was an inspiration. It was about several immigrants, and one in particular, Sing, who lived in the way I did. And one of the goals of this documentary was  to change things and give the opportunity to immigrants to  talk about their stories in the USA. Sing was an immigrant of a different race and different country, from Myanmar in Asia.  The film called I Learn America let us have the opportunity to think about our stories and some of the students in the film  were students like me.  When they related their story, I felt like it was the same like mine. So when my English teacher invited the filmmaker and one of the students in the film to my school,  the moments we spent together were just magic.  When I shared my story in front of my friends, it was like I was free.   I didn’t feel ashamed any more. I was finally feeling good to share and have people hear my story. I’m proud to be an immigrant and to be an immigrant doesn’t mean to be a slave. I understand now that to be an immigrant is a challenge for me to have pride in myself in school, and be anything I want to be.

 

I sincerely enjoyed telling you about my story.  I hope you have enjoyed reading it, Davis. Now I have a goal to reach, and I will do everything for that. My teacher and Mr Dissard told me my story is important,  not just for me but because it can inspire other people like me to have the courage to tell their story. Also, everybody on this earth has a story, even you Davis.  What’s your story?

 

I will see soon. I love you man. Take care.

 

Sem

 

-Anselme Dembassa

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