Essays, poems and Stories of an African-American

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Immigration, integration, resilience and citizenship in USA

Meaningful steps and lawful conduct; the dividends of my waiting!

In my adopted country, unless am stopped and someone wants to know more about me I may be another new person in the community. ‘Perhaps staying for a short time and return to Africa, Jamaica or the Dominican Republic,’ many may add in contemplative reflection or for others sardonically. I left my country as a manager and coordinator of a unit in the Ministry of Health that researched, documented and profiled infections and diseases. I left my family and community that I was used to. I also left for fear of my life. I came to USA, to make sure I pursue my dreams and lead a happier life. This, in USA, is a grail I hope will sit in one place and I shall be able to take sips from it. I want to study science, be well grounded and one day practice medicine in USA. In my mind I am able to track fast forward and backtrack to present day. I am seeking asylum and at the mercy of public assistance. I live with a host family and survive on a subsistence of USD 300 a month. Am very grateful.
I have over time realized I need to rely on my soft skills. I do help around and engage in community work. This has helped me make friends. But, when I talk of soft skills, my finger is pointing at: attitude, open-mindedness, resolve, consistence, competence, humility, focus, service and industriousness. By attitude, this is what I mean: I look at life from a humble but productive point of view. I have stripped myself of all pretense and have reconciled myself with what is around me. At home am making myself useful and dependable. I do ask for clarification and direction on how to use, say, the coffee-maker or grating machine. I do like to learn the American way of home-life. Even when I go down-town, this is the attitude I move about with. By resolve, this is what I mean: I have designed a work-plan, a schedule, to follow as I learn and read about being an American. I have enrolled in remedial classes. I do read widely on American civics and government. I do want to be informed. By consistence, focus and industriousness, this is what I mean: I follow my schedule like clock-work. That way I have been able to track what I do and that way I feel am empowering myself and improving on my self-esteem. The above skills have enabled me get a certain level of competence and it has enabled me navigate almost seamlessly in USA. I do hope one day, I shall be able to be of help to others who want to make it productively in USA.
Self actualization for me is tied to my stay in USA presently.  I want to believe that saying: the sky is the limit. I do want to earn my legalization and eventually become a US citizen. I do read and study English, civics and other subjects. I have been subjected to occasions of criminal background checks because I do volunteer work with social-services organizations on short term contracts. I also had the occasion to undergo Federal finger printing and biometrics. I am hopeful these are steps towards a legal status. It is painfully taking long, but am patient. I cannot legally earn money at this point. I also may be forced to give up my chance of education until am legally documented. I went to the Registry of motor vehicles to get an identity card; I was told am not legally allowed to own a state ID. I still use my passport. I have plans to be of more service, but I cannot because I do not have legal status and a social security number. I am a car raring to go! All hope has not been lost. I used my extra time to study. I have given over 6 months studying mathematics and have tried many sums done up to undergraduate level. The other day an organization I applied to has, provided me a window to do mentoring in Mathematics and English for children 15-18 years. With legal status I shall be able to integrate fully, serve more usefully in my community and invest with a hope to get dividends. I shall be looked upon as a useful community member, earn higher incomes, serve on jury duty, engage in local politics and engage in elections. 

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Recreation in USA!

Bicycle ride towards Holden City, Massachusetts, USA

Riding my Peugeot!

Road holding is good. I challenge Lance Armstrong.I betcha I ride faster than him!

Near Worcester Water Reservoir built around 1910!


The bar!

Forge ahead and forgive. What better way!

I listened to this song on a pure moods album III called; Land of Anaka. It is a collaboration by Geoffrey Oryema/Brian Eno. In it they are singing of hope after so much anarchy and destruction. It is a song of hope and courage. It speaks of realized dreams that can come one’s way, when four things occur: change, belief, resolve and starting again. By change we decide to move away from where we are persecuted and stymied in our paths of progress. Because of belief and if we do not cease to believe in ourselves, we can therefore prompt ourselves in seeking a better life. By resolve we are steadfast in our plans. We engage in activities that continue affirming our ideas, creating reality from our dreams. This consistence brings fruits and is part of the discipline paths we take.
 I want to be a very great person. I want to be able to, one day, be able to make change in the world. I have seen poverty in our communities. It is dressed in so many ways. It appears as; a small 12 feet by 20 feet house made of mud with mud floor serving as the home of a family of 7 people. It is also dressed in form of communities extracting sustenance from lands that have been stripped of nutrients and are just brown soils held together as crusts! Poverty is also dressed as a culture of greed, fear and selfishness. Those who have are empowered to take even the little that those who have less can call their own food.  In all these situations there are ways to cause contentedness and security for all. Those with much will have security and those with less will get contentment. I know am going to be part of that agenda. There is no blaming anyone, in this situation we shall start blaming those who are against empowering others to seek contentment and those who will disturb peace and order for others.
I know a little bit about betrayal and pain as a result of having what you thought was the world around, to be shattered by people close to you. I know what it means to live side by side with people who eventually become your inner circle, only to end up realizing they are actually using you as a stepping stone and later abandoned you. I know being in need and knocked on doors of people you thought would help, but only to be shooed away! I do know pain. But, most of all I do know that I am able to overcome all the negative forces and forge on. I know the sweetness of forgiving and avoiding petty-minded persons who tend to look at life in a very narrow way. They usually have lost hope and we tend to be empathetic. We make these kinds of people our friends only to be pulled back by their fears. By the time we realize we had neglected our own issues, most of the time it is regrettable.
In Oryema’s song, I realized I was one of those who had given so much to others and neglected my own dreams and hopes. I now can sit back and listen to music, hear the words and reflect upon them deeply. I can give myself quality time and do in-depth studies in various professional fields. I have re-discovered myself.  If, a long time ago, I thought I was building up something for myself it is now that I see I had not done anything for me. I used to take sorrowful journeys but ended up pained more than they aggrieved. This realization that I have bottomless sources of hope, courage and wisdom gave me a galvanizing companionship and showed me all was not lost. One day I shall be a great person.