We moved to America when I was 3 years old. My parents were refugees from West Africa and they thought life would be great in the USA.

I don’t really remember how we were living back home. And how bad it was. I was very young and didn’t understand a lot of things. I cannot even remember the day we left home. It is all a blur. But I know that we only had one suitcase for all four of us. My parents, myself and my older brother.

I remember my brother holding my hand. And that’s all I can remember. Most of my memories are here in the United States. We had a lot of struggles. Life in the USA wasn’t as easy as my family expected.

We had a heavy accent because we came from Africa. Americans didn’t really take us seriously because of it. At least that’s how my parents felt.

My father was a teacher back home. He had a good job and a good income. But when we moved to America he was a nobody.

When we escaped to the United States my father’s teaching license was not accepted here. He had to start working in a Trash Recycling Company so we can survive.

My mother started a job cleaning offices. Life was really hard on us. My parents gained our safety. But they lost their identity. I could see the frustration in my father’s eyes. Then he started getting depressed.

After 2 years, he started drinking. It was only at weekends at first. Then every Tuesday and Thursday, too. And then every single night. He wasn’t the same person anymore.

One day he hit my older brother when he was drunk. So my mother left him and took us with her. And then he died 3 years later.

Sometimes me and my brother blamed her for leaving him to die. But now I think she didn’t have a choice. She just wanted to protect us. Just like she wanted to protect us by moving our family to the United States.

We had to pay a price for this protection. We are living more safely here, but it cost my fathers life.