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I Learn Library

A human library inspired by the stories in the film

When I found out that I was leaving West Africa for the united state I was very sad and angry.

By Thierno Bah  |   From : Bronx, NY  |   School : MACS

Childhood

I grew up in West Africa in Moravia, Liberia. I lived with my family there. During my childhood, I was very polite with my friends and family. I was so happy during my childhood because my friends and family supported me and made me feel strong. I usually ate African food, which made me feel happy and comfortable. I liked eating fofo and rice with my grandmother. I remember my uncle used to speak African languages and my friends singing songs. I had wonderful experiences during my childhood with my family and friends. My uncle gave me strong advice about how to be a good student and a good person. He said I should always pay attention to teachers and my family. When I was in Africa, my grandmother would always ask me to eat with her and she used save some food for me for when I would go to play soccer with other friends. She was a wonderful grandmother. She always paid attention to me and asked about my homework to make sure I got a good education. I used play soccer with my friends. We would have a wonderful time together. My friends always came to my house to eat with me and my grandmother used to share so much food with my friends. I loved my grandmother because she loved people, especially if they paid attention in school. I remember when I lost my grandfather; it was the worst day of my life. I remembered how he used to tell me stories about his childhood. He used to take me to school, telling me to always pay attention. I remember how much he loved me and how important he was in my life.

Exodus

When I found out that I was leaving West Africa for the United States, I was very sad and angry. It was a Tuesday. I was on my way to school when my dad told me. I was shocked to hear my dad tell me this because I was not thinking about coming to the United States, even though my sister and my mother were already there. When I got to school, I told my friends right away that I was leaving. My friends were not too happy about me leaving because they looked unhappy. One of my friends was crying, telling me how much he was going to miss me. They told me to be a good person and pay attention to school so that I could get my high school degree and be ready for college. Lester’s voice was full of sadness to me. I believed that I had good friends who were always going to be there for me in life. They told me the true story of life by giving me advice about school and family. My parents told me that I had very good friends because they told me how to be a good person and to pay attention to your elders, no matter who you are.

 

The Crossing

When I got to the airport the only things I saw were the plane and many people. They were saying goodbye to me and shaking my hand. My crossing to the United State was very happy as I thought about memories of the friends I was already missing. I was thinking about how different life was going to be in the United States. I felt kind of sad. Coming to America was very happy day in my life because I knew getting my education was the best thing for me for the future. My parents wanted to support me so I could have the best education for my future. I felt happy and sad. The plane was very cold and the food was not good. Coming to America really changed my life because I experienced what coming to a new country was like.

 

Into Another Land

When I first arrived at JFK, I was cold. My father, who had already come to the United States, had to give me his jacket. I looked at the city and at Brooklyn beach. My father asked me about the family in Africa. He was very happy to see me because it had been a long time since we had seen each other. He felt so wonderful about seeing my mother, my sister, and me. We had a wonderful family conversation. My father worked very hard for us to be in the United States. He told me how he worked so hard arranging the immigration papers for us to be in the United States. My mother was so happy that she gave my father a big kiss and we laughed so hard. They had such strong passion for each other. During my first day in to the United States my father told me how in America it is very important to be a good person and to hang out with good people. He made me feel more invested in school and also to plan for college so I could have a good future. I was sitting and listing to my father’s speech thinking I pray that God will help me be a good person.

A New Life

Having a new life in a different country is very hard sometimes because of school and the environment. But I believe it’s very important because you will have experiences with different people and learn a different culture. Coming to a new country gives you different ideas and makes you learn new thing; it also makes you learn a different language and helps you understand other people. I also believe coming to a new country gives you more skills to be ready for college and share ideas with other students in West Africa. It brings you opportunity.

Shade and Light

Since coming to the United States, I have gotten more help in school than I did in Liberia. The teaching in Liberia is different. In the United States, the teachers pay more attention to you. They want you to get your education and be successful. The environment is different than Africa—I think it’s better because is healthier. There are hospitals and food. However, I miss a lot of things about Africa. I miss playing sports with my friends. I think about playing soccer on the big, grassy field with my childhood friends. I’m happy in the United States because my family is living in a better environment; all of my brothers and sisters are going to school and that makes me happy. Liberia is different from the United States. The most important thing is knowing that West Africa is not developed, so we need to help people from there get education and better living conditions. I wish Africa could have better education so that people could progress in life.

 

 

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