We Are America

Voices of the Nation's Future

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My mom is an amazing woman. She does everything for my small family. I live with my grandfather, grandmother, and mother. When we came to America, it was very difficult for my mom to do every-  thing on her own. She wasn’t fluent in English, so speaking to Americans was a challenge for her. Often, we had to call a social worker to help us. We were new in the USA and English was not our native language, so it was hard.  My mother worked hard to pay the rent. She found a job at a clothing facto- ry. She was the only one in our household that had an income. She bought food and clothes for everyone in my family. I understood how difficult it was for her to manage everything. Sometimes, I tried to help by translating sentences from English to Nepali for her when she needed help with documents or applications.  No one in my family knew how to drive and we had to ask someone to give us a ride to do errands. My mom had to depend on a friend for a ride to work as well. The freezing cold weather also made it hard for us to walk anywhere on our own.  I remember the day that my teacher told us to invite our parents to conferences. I went home and told my mom that she should go to the school that week. My mom tried to find a ride with someone, but she was not able to. I was sad that my mom could not meet my teachers. I worked so hard in school and I wanted to show my mom what I had done. I didn’t think it was fair that some parents were able to go to conferences and others couldn’t, simply because they didn’t have a ride.  I know it is not easy for a single mom to raise children in a new country. It is even harder when the children get sick. Once I was hospitalized for a week; I had a kidney infection. My mom was so worried about me. She didn’t have anyone to help us understand everything while I was at the hospital. I felt bad that I was causing problems for my mom. This made me feel so sad and hopeless, especially because my dad was not with us. Even though I felt sad, the experience made me stronger. It made me realize that my mom and I really needed to depend on each other.  My dad used to come with me to my school events while I was in Nepal. I really missed spending time with my dad. When my school scheduled par- ent conferences, I always wished my dad could come. So, where was my dad was during all this time? He could not come to America, because he was not a refugee. He was a great dad, and he loved us very much. We video chatted with my dad every day, but it was not the same, because I couldn’t see him in person. We were not a whole family anymore. When I went to my friend’s house, I would see my friend’s parents happily together. I felt sad because part of my family was missing.  I started to slowly adapt to my new environment. I tried not to miss my dad too much and I started to keep busy with my schoolwork. I was so happy that I had an amazing mom who devoted her life to her family. Someday my dad will come to us, I hope. Until that wonderful day, I will work my hardest to make my parents proud. Meanwhile, I will help my mom learn English, and I will try to be strong for my family. 

© Nikita Dhagi. 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.