The purpose of this essay is to tell you about my background. It all started when I was born in Southern Sudan, Juba in 03/02/1985. For people who don't know Sudan, Sudan is the biggest country in Africa; it has 400 different languages and each of those languages or tribes has there own rules and way of life. I have 6 brothers. My family immigration started in 1972. When my brother and I went inside the school and everything was changed, it was unbelievable because the whole systems for the school were changed to an Islam way. One of the most important things in our school was religion class because my school was a Christian school. The books, clothes, and teachers were also changed, as for clothes we used to wear white shirt or pans, for girls they used to wear blue dress or skirts and white T-shirt. These Islam rules started to take over the nations systematically (step by step), and because the government of Sudan is Muslims it became easy for the people who wanted Sudan to be an Islam or Muslim Country.
By the middle of 1996 Muslim people ruled � of Khartoum the capital of Sudan because Christians were getting killed or kidnapped by Muslim's. So it became very hard for Christians to go to Church or even to wear that they used to wear. Women had to wear long dresses; your head had to be covered, and women are not allowed to leave the house without their husband's permission. If she raised her voice while her husband is talking to his friends, the women will get beat up. Then for teenager's girls, they were not allowed to leave the house without their brother or uncle. I remember when the soldiers were fighting. It was around down when I heard the sounds of bullets flying in the air �pew, pew, pew, pew.� My mother dragged us out of the house. We ran to the riverbank and hid. I wasn't really afraid because it wasn't the first time the soldiers attacked. When the soldiers struck again, it was all day, which means for six to six. Fighting started at six in the morning and ended at six at night. My family stayed in a kanduck, an underground hideout, for the whole day during those hard times.
As for my family living in a Muslim area it was very difficult especially when my uncle was in Jail because my family was the only Christian living in a Muslim's area and we didn't want to follow the Islam rules. While all of this was happening we were still going to school, but the way teachers taught students wasn't the way that people should be taught. Education became something else; no body wanted to go to school no more because school became a place of revenge, and instead of learning people began to fight.
So by April 1998 my sister couldn't take it anymore, because so many civilians were being killed, so we moved to Egypt as refugees. Life wasn't essay in Egypt but at least it was better then my country. While we were in Egypt we heard about this place in where people go and get interview by American lawyers, if a person filled their test they wouldn't be able to come to the United States of America, but however if you pasted the test you would come to America. My sister was very happy when she heard about it she just had that faith that we would come to the United States. While we were in Egypt she applied for coming to America, she knew it would take a long time. My sister knew that my family had to leave Sudan as soon as possible because the Civil War was going on in Southern Sudan between two regions Christians and Muslims. On April 27, 1999 my sister decided that my family should leave Sudan and come to Egypt, from Egypt we would decide what to do next. So on July 10, 1999 my family made their move which was going to Egypt. Going to Egypt was very hard because we left our older brothers in Sudan, they wanted to stay. First my family took a train from Khartoum to Wodey Hlfia for another day then they took a ship to Oswin from there they took bus to Cairo. When they got to Cairo it was so different and wild, the way people dressed, food, etc or walk and of course the costumes were different. We stayed in Egypt for ten month, and then my sister went to the United Nation to fill the application for coming to the United States. After year and half the United Nation called us to come and take the first test. The first test was just to tell why did we moved to Egypt from Sudan, and why should they let us come to the United States of America. I came to the United States in April 26, 2000 from Egypt; we spent five hours in New York airport, and then we came to Portland, Maine. Here I have found possibilities for a future. Education, work, friends a school and neighborhood community where I can learn and work to make this world a better place. When I moved to Portland I was placed in ESL classes. I was worried about learning because I hadn't learned simple things, like the English alphabet and spelling. The teachers were teaching me Arabic when I was in Sudan. The work I did at school in Sudan and Egypt was different from the United States. I was put in ninth grade here and learning ABC's and simple math like 2+2 while my classmates were learning other things. I couldn't tell the teacher that the work I was doing was too essay because I didn't know the language. I have made a lot of progress over the past 3 years, moving from ESL classes to general classes. My ability to speak English has improved dramatically; I have gone from not understanding any English, to having the ability to carry on a conversation with anyone. I feel this accomplishment had opened many more opportunities for me in and out of school in addition to being fulltime students when I was in high school, I was also very active in after school activities. I was a member of the Interact Club and I participated in the SAFE AND SMART program. I was a member of Jobs for Maine's Graduates, which had prepared me for my future and given me more opportunities to give back to the community. During the summer of 2001, I worked for Cultivating Communities as a harvester, volunteered at East End Kids Catering and Preble Street Resource Center (where I also received more computer training). The rest of my free time I spent playing soccer, which I participated in year round when I was in high school. I had a dream about America, I thought of America as the land of freedom. I also imagined lots of money, that the streets were full of money. But when I came to the U.S what I was imagining was not true. All I could see outside was white snow and no money. You must work in this country to survive. No money flew around in the street. I didn't understand the America customs. I couldn't believe that women in America wore pants and swimming suits in public. I couldn't just ask a neighbor for money, I thought it was the same as where I come from, where a person can borrow money from their neighbor. Finally, I will never forget what I went through when I was in Sudan and how Education became something else; no body wanted to go to school no more because school became a place of revenge. Also Christians were getting killed or kidnapped by Muslim in Sudan. And how I had a dream about America. My family living in a Muslim area. For all these reasons, I think that I made a lot of progress from going thought a hard time in life with my family and moving in a different country and learn about their culture and customs and they way they life.
I am new, friendly, and curious