On January 21, working in pairs, the One Earth Ambassadors got to know a local refugee teen through Samaritas New American Services by asking questions and writing their answers. The goal of the program was to write their partner’s journey story descriptively and definitively, so they have a record of how they came to America. Here is the work from our Ambassador, Neely Allen:
Why now? Why do we have to leave? Why us? Why me? I’m just a girl. I’m just like a lot of girls actually; my favorite color is pink, I’m the middle kid in my family, and I like to read, write and cook. I’m pretty normal and overall a good person, but I still can’t understand why this happened to me.
I don’t remember much about what happened, but I do remember some things. I remember finding out that we were leaving when I heard my parents talking on the phone. I remember sleeping on floors because so many people were seeking shelter in our home. I remember crying while we packed. I only really remember the sad things, but I never could remember what I did to deserve this.
When we left I missed my family. Leaving them was the hardest part. Moving from place to place was the second hardest part. At first, I lived in Jordan and then we moved to Michigan. For a while, we stayed at my Aunt’s house with my cousins. When we first got into her house, I couldn’t see because of all the balloons in the room. My cousins made leaving easier. They comforted me, along with the help of Arabic food. The scent of dolma always made me feel at home.
After a while I realized that it wasn’t too bad. Maybe the way wasn’t some type of punishment. In a way, it was better here. It felt safer, they had a lot more police officers on the streets. The people here were nice. I still get to do things I like. I go to the beach with my brother and I can still read books and write stories. Yeah, I guess it wasn’t too bad, especially now, since I’m getting used to Michigan and its harsh weather.
I still miss Iraq and my family, but I guess I’m kind of glad it was me. I’m glad this happened to me because I’m smart, kind, and brave. And now, thanks to the war, I can add strong.
By Neely Allen