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Amina: Finding A Home in Faribault
Really what brought us here is not because of jobs, it’s really because of communication and people…The reason we came here is because we wanted education. —Amina
Amina is a Somali student in her second year at Faribault High School. Amina and her family lived in Texas until she was in the second grade. When she was in third grade, her family moved to Faribault, and Amina entered the public school system. Amina spoke about how she came to Faribault, and how it became home.
“Before we came to Faribault we used to live in Texas. …there, there were Somalis, but a different kind of Somalian, a different ethnic group, and we really didn't understand English either because we just came from Africa…so we needed somewhere that there was Somalians, people that could understand us, that could help us. Because if you don’t have help, its kind of like... it feels like you are the only one. You feel like everything you do is wrong, you know? So we moved to Faribault.”
Because it was so difficult to communicate in Texas, Amina explains, her family moved to Faribault. The translator spoke a different Somalian language that her family spoke. Although she was not the only Somali in her class, she felt alone. Not only was it difficult to find community, she explains, but it was also difficult to learn. Amina’s mother suggested they move from Texas.
“Really what brought us here is not because of jobs, it’s really because of communication and people…The reason we came here is because we wanted education. Because they had education, but we really didn’t understand English, and the translator we had…he spoke a different Somali language and we didn’t really get it. So, we moved here, and there was a bunch of Somalians and we had help. …Because you kind of need your people sometime if you don’t understand someone and you need help. So, we didn’t even know the rules of America either, only that we had to wear pants and shirts to school. “
She reflects, a sophomore in high school in 2014, that she considers Faribault her home. She explains:
“Home for me would be probably Faribault. Because, I left Africa when I was pretty young, and it wasn’t...it’s not really easy in Africa. There are some times when you don’t have food.... you have to do anything you can to survive, and if you are not making money its really hard for you to survive. So, we came to Faribault. We are cool.”
However, despite her finding home in Faribault, Amina expresses her desire to move forward. She reflects:
“And now…after a couple of years, we understand English, and we can move. Last time, I was like, ‘mom, can we move to Bloomington because I want somewhere new’? She was like, ‘no no Faribault is my home, I am staying’. I was like, ‘but we are getting kind of old here!’ And she says, ‘I like it here’. And I said, ‘I am going to leave when I graduate’. She’s like, ‘no you’re not.’ And I’m like, ‘I know’.”