I am from Sudan, from the capitol city, Khartoum. I came to South Bend after winning the visa lottery. After some years here, I can become a citizen. Right now, I have one or two years left before I am a citizen. We came from my country because, first, the education is stronger in America. Second, because my dad is disabled. Someone told us that in America they have better doctors. So, we just applied for the lottery and we won. I have been in the United States for almost two years now. We first landed in Chicago, and then came to South Bend. We were supposed to go to LA, because my uncle is there. But, my dad’s friend said, “don’t go there because it is really expensive and its a very busy place. Come to South Bend, it is quiet and is not expensive and we know some people here. There isn’t a big Sudanese community here, maybe 20 families and I know them all.
My first memory in the US actually really sad for me. I am not sure if he was racist or just having a bad day, but I remember asking a man at the Chicago airport, after I had just arrived here, where is the bathroom. He yelled and said, “I don’t know. It’s not my job to tell you.” And I left. Welcome to the US. My first six months here was the worst in my life. I was 17 years old. But now it is getting better – I have my friends and work and I know how to speak English better.
What’s your favorite book? Malcolm X
What’s your favorite food? I love fresh tuna and seafood.
If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be? Malcolm X
What are your long-term goals? My plan is to stay here in the US and finish college. I’d like to work in the government. I’d like to also get a Master’s degree and a PhD in IT. I want to do something big. Maybe work for NASA. I know that some people from my country work for NASA. I’d like to be like them. I also want to be a swimmer. I have three medals now from school, but I’d like to swim professionally.
Interviewed by Caroline Bilsky