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Maryama Hussein



Maryama was born into a large family in Somalia. Her mother was a housewife and her father served in the military until 1991. Many of her relatives died during the civil war, and Maryama and her son, in fear for their lives, left the country to go to Egypt in 2002. They lived in Cairo because Maryama had a friend there. Getting a job and education for her children was difficult, so she applied to the UN for refugee status for herself, her son, and her daughter, who was born in Egypt. Maryama was eventually resettled in the United States. She lives in St. Paul, MN where she works, goes to school to study Engish, and raises her children.




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Maryama Hussein Transcription
My name is Maryama. I was born in December at night in Mogadishu. I grew up in a beautiful neighborhood where everyone know each other. When I was six years old, my mom and I visited my great-grandfather. He had a lot of livestock. For example, he had goats, cows, and sheep. I was excited because I had never seen those animals. My great-grandfather told me how the animals hunt each other.
I grow up in a big family. My mom was housewife, but my dad served in the military until 1991. The civil war began at that time. The government was starting to fall apart. In a few weeks, the people from [inaudible] they started shooting each other and much property was destroyed. My uncle and a lot of relatives were killed. So my son and I had to get away in order to save our life in 2002. We went to Cairo, Egypt because we had one friend that I know back in my country. We started our life there and lived peacefully. But a lot of things were missing: food, clothes, and education. I struggled a lot because I frustrated. I wasn’t have any money to support my son. I wanted my son to get an education, but I couldn’t do that in Egypt because the school was too expensive. I started looking for a job, but unfortunately there wasn’t job for immigrants. I started to realize that I was pregnant with my beautiful daughter. After a couple of months, I contacted the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. For more than five decades they helped many different refugees all over the world to establish their new life in United States. After I went to United Nations, I waited four years for my process. They accepted me as a refugee, finally. They told me that we were going to the United States. I was excited because I thought my life changed right away. But, it wasn’t true.
When I came to this country, it was a struggle again because I did not have any money to help my family when I was new here. I couldn’t speak English. Everything was hard for me. Finally, I found a job and I was happy and excited to support my children.
My life is still a struggle. I wake up every day at 5AM to prepare my children to go to school. I come to school every day, 8:15 to 12:15PM to study reading, writing, and math. After that, I go to work because I work second shift. I have this life and I hope for a good future for my children. My children are most important in my life. And, I encourage other immigrants to work hard, and never give up until you reach your goals in the future.
Now, there is more peace in my home country. I hope I will be able to return to visit someday.