We Are America

Voices of the Nation's Future

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Photo ofKabita C. Rai

Before my brother got sick, I was a very happy person. I didn’t fear any- thing. I used to hang out with lots of my friends and enjoy my life. When my brother got sick, I worried about him, always. When my  brother was one and a half years old, he ate meat and somehow became ill. We did not actually know that he had a meat allergy until he began to get sick. We were very worried about it. I was crying and hoping he would be okay soon. My dad was at work, so my mom took him to the hospital. I was too young to stay at home alone, so I also had to go to the hospital with my mom and brother.  When we entered the hospital, it smelled strange. I could smell all the medicine. It felt like it was inside my nose. I could not handle the smell, and I almost vomited. We took my brother to the emergency room, so we didn’t have to wait in the line. We went inside, and the doctor came to us and start- ed talking to us in English. Since we were new to America, we couldn’t understand anything, so we asked for a Nepali interpreter. After we got one, we understood that the doctor had checked my brother and he had an allergy to meat.  They gave him some medicine, but it did not help him. In fact, my little brother ended up with a strange wound on his left leg. He had to go to the hospital again only a week later. We were getting tired of taking him to the hospital and getting similar, unhelpful medication every time, we went there. When my mom had had enough, she actually yelled at the doctor through the interpreter. She shouted, “Every time we come here you guys give my son the same medication, and it isn’t helping!” We didn’t under- stand why they were giving him a pill when he had a wound on his leg. We thought to ourselves that maybe they should give us something to put on his wounded leg, so it would get better.  My brother’s sickness changed me. I was always worried and anxious after that year. To make my brother happy, I played with him. I had to take care of my parents and my brother, so they could focus on the bigger problems. Later that year, I started to attend dance classes. One day, there was a cultural event organized by our community. I had to perform a dance at that event in front of a lot of people. That was my first-time dancing, so I was really scared and shy. I was not very confident before it, but it turned out to be really fun. I started to feel more confident the more that I danced. Dancing started to be an escape from my problems. I counted the minutes until school was over each day, so I could go home and practice dancing. I start- ed to perform at more events in the community. I felt wonderful when I got to dance because all my worries and problems would fade away. It was just me and the music and the moves. I felt free of worry, and my anxiety about my family was gone. I had found my passion. Dancing helped me deal with the problems I had, and it made my life brighter.  My brother’s illness caused me to become depressed and anxious. When I discovered my passion for dancing, my world changed. I started to think more positively when my brother had medical issues. When I started to feel anxious, I would turn on my music, start dancing and go to my happy place. 

© Kabita C. Rai. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team through this website and we can put you in touch with the young person’s teacher.