My name means “light”

By Anwar  |   From : Kenya  |   School : BiNCA

Every morning the light from the sun woke me up and I watched my siblings get ready for school. Back in Kenya, my older siblings got to go to school but I stayed home with my mom and twin sister and helped cook and clean. My parents could not afford to send me to school. I thought in my head, “I want to go to school. I want to go to school.” I wanted to learn new things and I dreamed of having a higher education. My sister, who was four years older than me, went to school. I looked up to her and wanted to be like her. Most women in my country didn’t go to school, they just stayed home to cook and clean. I wanted something bright for my future. 


Then when I was 11 years old my family moved to the USA. It was my first time in an airplane. I was scared. I was sitting next to a stranger but I still held them tight. I looked out of the window and saw all the buildings. We were all confused about the plane and about the new country. But when we got off we were too tired to talk about it. It was night time when we arrived and everything outside was dark.


My father came to pick us up at the airport in a car. He had already been here for 9 years. It took him a long time to get the papers for us to come too, but he had visited when I was a kid so I knew him already. My father was excited to see his family. I was excited to see him too because I hadn’t seen him for a long time. He took us to a house. He already had it waiting for us.


After a few days of resting, my father took us for a tour of Boston. Everything looked so different from my home in Kenya. The streets were smaller here and the buildings were bigger. We saw a lot of places but what I remember most is that we saw the ocean for the first time. The water was too cold to swim so we just sat and watched the ocean and I felt so good. It was very calm and the bright sun reflected on the water. We all ate Somali food there. I felt happy and grateful to be able to spend time with my dad after a long time.  


In September of that year I finally got to start school. At first I was nervous because I didn’t know any people and I didn’t know the language. It was hard for me. But I knew it was not my first time trying something new. I had already moved to a brand new country, held a stranger on a plane, and seen the ocean for the first time with my father. I knew I could do it even though it was going to be scary and difficult. When you don’t know English it is hard to talk to people. A teacher asked me my name. I didn’t understand her, so she called a student who spoke my language. The student helped me. I took a deep breath and told her my name, Anwar. My name means “light” in Somali. 


When I was a child in Kenya I could not imagine where I am today, about to graduate from high school. I have been able to attend school and learned how to be a strong student that knows how to communicate. I am not going to cook and clean for the rest of my life. Next year I want to participate in a program so that I can improve my English and skills. I am ready to overcome the next challenge and share my light with others. 

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