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I Learn Library

A human library inspired by the stories in the film

FIRST DAY IN AN AMERICAN SCHOOL

By Fadilatou  |   From : The Bronx  |   School : MACS H.S.

Childhood

Have you ever thought of learning about other people’s cultures? My name is Fadilatou Kaboré. I was born in a small country named Burkina Faso, located in West Africa, in the capital Ouagadougou. In my country, we speak French as our first language and Moore as a secondary language. I was living in a big family. I was raised by my grandma, grandpa, and my cousins. One memory I have is that I was a combative person toward my cousins. I didn’t like cooperating or sharing my food or things with them. My friends and I used to go out for dinner with our classmates. I was really happy when I was a child because I was living with my family and they allowed me do what I wanted. Every Sunday, we threw a party with our friends to have fun. We danced African and American dances. Sometimes we would go to the park or we would play in front of the door with other neighborhood children. One of my uncles worked in a factory, so we usually went there to help him work and at the end of the day he compensated us for helping him.

Exodus

July of 2013 is when I found out that we would be moving to the United States. I was sad and angry when I heard the news. We started preparing our stuff for travelling. It was really difficult for me to understand that I would be leaving my good friends and my lovely family for a new and better life. I asked many questions to myself. Should I leave without informing my friends? No, I did tell them. I said goodbye to them and to my good family I said that I was going to miss them. It was the saddest moment of my life—I was crying. But as good and noble friends and family, they told me not to cry and that one day we would see each other again, maybe when it comes time for me to get married. That made me start laughing. They gave me good blessing and hoped for me to live well there, even if I didn’t have any friends. My dad also came to visit me, because he wasn’t living with me in the same house, and said goodbye before I left my country. To be honest, I was confused and I was as crying like a little baby because I didn’t want to leave everything. My eyes were as red as blood.

The Crossing

Coming to America was life changing for me. I left my country at the age of 14 in November 2013 without knowing what was would be the next challenge for me in life. I was excited because my mom was living in the United States already. At the same time I was sad. My biggest issues were language, education, and friendship. When I heard we were going to the United States I got sick and I didn’t feel like telling my friends anything about my trip. I remember this because I was in shock and didn’t know what to do. I thought that I would be alone at home every day by myself with nobody to play with. I would be bored without any friends to talk to or hang out with. When I was in the airplane, I was sitting next to my brother who was using his phone. I was really terrified because there were many things going on. I opened the window shade to see the sky. When the plane started moving, I started worrying about the airplane falling out of the sky, because it was my first time flying in an airplane. When I stepped out of the airplane, we were told to wait in a room to fill out the papers. We arrived in the United States around 6pm, when the sky was dark. I have lived in the United State for three years now. I am happy that I crossed into the United States because I learned new things about how people live and new languages. Dieu merci que tout va bien. I think it was really good for me to travel to and discover new things in other countries in this world and have fun because life is too short.

Into Another Land

First I went to Bronx, New York in United States with my older brother. I was thinking it was going to be boring place for me. When I arrived in the United States I felt like I couldn’t live there because there are many people in New York. However, when I started seeing my family, I started to feel like I was back in my own country. One day, my uncle and I went for a walk and I heard some people speaking a language that was different from English. I asked my uncle what language it was and he sadly answered me that it was Spanish. I wondered to myself if this was another language that I would have to learn. Outside I smelled the fresh air—it was fresh like flowers. I noticed that the transportation was different from my old country. There were trains, buses, and cars but they didn’t have lot of motorcycles like in Burkina Faso. I was scared of the train because it was my first time taking a train. The train’s color was gray and it was really dark in the subway. I remember the train was speaking weird English and I didn’t understand anything at all.

A New Life

I went to the Bronx to the new home where we were going to live. It was as nice as a noble castle. I had my own room. My room’s color was pink mixed with du bleu. Everything in the house was perfect. It smell good like fresh flowers just bought from outside. The new apartment was different from my old house. I didn’t have to share my room with anyone. At first I didn’t sleep in my room because I was scared to sleep in that big room by myself without my mom. My mother meant the world to me—without her, I wouldn’t be able to do anything. She’s the one who give me birth dans cette terre. My first day of American school was humiliating and embarrassing. I never had to speak English before. It had been many months since I had arrived in New York, I wasn’t new to the town but I was new in the school. When I started school, the others students in the class already knew each other. To make things worse, I did not know enough English to try to make friends. Language was only one of my problems. I was lucky, though: there were a couple of Africans in my class. We weren’t from the same country, but they spoke French so I hoped I would have a good day. On my first day in America, I didn’t have a rough time. In the middle school there were some cliques. In cafeteria they were all different groups. Furthermore, in middle school there are some lies that people tell you on the first day of school:

  1. They tell you that you are not alone.
  2. You will get friends by the end of day.
  3. Don’t worry they got your back.
  4. They will help you.
  5. Some teachers be like, when you need help you have to let them know
  6. They are here to help you

Shade and Light

Many things in my life changed since I moved into the United States. My way of life changed. I learned a new language. I have more education about life, how you have to fight to be a person in this world! You have to show them what you can do. You need to have a good job so that people will respect you and even be proud of who you are. I learned many things about traveling to a new country, but it was difficult for me to adjust even though I had some family already here. Family can make you feel safe and strong, but they can’t replace all the things you used to have before, like my friends and my old school. Something positive about moving to the United States is that I have made new friendships. You can learn more about a new country by hanging out with people. You can learn what languages they speak. I know people who speak Bengali, Japanese, and Spanish. I’m really happy I came to the United States. One thing people can learn about my story is that it is difficult for people to leave everything to move to another country. You will survive. Je pense que les autres personnes peuvent voir comment la vie se déroule quand tu quittes ton pays pour un autre pays, mais c’est tres bien de savoir ce que la vie es en réalité.

 

 

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