By Hussien Mumin
I was born in 1993 in Somalia. My family owned a farm, which helped us live a stable life. I will always remember running outside, smelling the fresh fruits and vegetables, such as oranges, bananas, and lettuce. This type of atmosphere made me feel humble and grateful for what I had in life. I remember one season it was raining hard almost every day, and my dad was worried about something, but I did not know what. One month later, a huge flood came toward our city, and my family and I had to evacuate our house. A few days later, we found out our farm was hit. This was not good because my mom was pregnant. My feelings were unexplainable because we had to start over. My childhood was destroyed.
We could not move back to that town because the war was getting closer to our area. One night I heard gunshots, and my next-door neighbors crying because a bullet hit one of their family members. My family and I instantly evacuated our home and went on a boat to another town so we could live with my aunt.
Hungry with no food to eat, we finally made it to our aunt’s house. The next day my mom had a daughter, which made me a very happy 4-year-old. My family was also excited because this was like a new beginning. My grandma, who was in the United States, tried her best to bring us to America. My dad also wanted us to move to the States because he wanted us to get our education.
Nov. 7, 1997 was the most painful day in my life. My mom passed away in her room. A few months later, my little sister passed away too. I saw the pain in my older siblings and my dad crying. After their deaths, things got quiet. We were just waiting for our tickets to go to America.
When I got to the States, I put all the tragedy behind me and started a new path for my life. My brother and I were very curious about how we would adjust to this new environment. I was always worried that I would not fit in with the fluent English speakers. Cartoons, such as “Caillou,” “Arthur,” and “Dragon Land,” helped me maintain my exposure to America.
Coming from a place where there was barely any electricity and where war was always going on, I felt very humbled to be given the opportunity to live in a society such as America, which gave me lights and a roof over my head. To me, education and a house with lights were a big advantage because it gave me a reason to stay on top of my schoolwork.
When I was going to school in America, I felt as if it was impossible for me to learn the material my classmates were learning. For example, the teacher was moving at a pace that I was not prepared for. Knowing that I did not have a good vocabulary, I asked my teacher to put me in a class that was on my level. Though other students were making fun of me because I flunked a grade, it did not bother me because I knew I had to start from the bottom in order to make it to the top.
As years went by in elementary school, my teachers supported me and made sure my reading, speaking, and writing levels improved. This made me feel that America was built on love and liberty because of the way my teachers cared for me. America will always have a place in my heart because it gave me opportunities and helped me achieve many things that I thought I was not capable of.
Every Saturday I do community service at the YMCA. I perform duties, such as serving snacks, officiating sports, and cleaning the courts. To me community service is not just a way for me to succeed in high school, it’s a way for me to gain more knowledge and responsibility in order to go somewhere in life after high school.
I hope to go to San Diego State University, so I can take care of my dad and get a stable job and start a new family.
Hussien Mumin is a 17-year-old student at Hoover High School.