#teens4citizenship—May, 2016: “Making a home in Hartford, a long way from Nepal,” by Tara M.
My name is Tara M. I was born in a refugee camp in Pathari, Nepal. My house was made of bamboo and thatch. My family spent twenty years in the refugee camp. Back then, my mom used to work at construction sites. The place I called home had no electricity, heat, or air conditioning–even in the school. The school I went to was called New Horizon Academy. I didn’t get a good education because there weren’t enough resources. Living in a refugee camp we always had fewer opportunities, such as no scholarships for school no matter how great your grades, no health care, and no guarantee of shelter and food.
My parents are from Bhutan. The reason we became refugees in Nepal is that in 1991 my parents and many other Bhutanese people were kicked out of their country by their government due to religious and language differences. They became refugees and ended up in Nepal.
In 2009, my family and I heard that the International Organization for Migration (IOM) was allowing refugees to come the United States of America. We filled out some applications and began the process to come to Hartford. In 2012, at 14 years old, I moved to Connecticut from Nepal. On April 3, 2012 I arrived in Hartford and it was the best day of my life. I was shocked to see such a beautiful school and teachers. I’d never seen these things in Nepal.
I was unable to speak English, as growing up in Nepal I had only learned Nepali. After moving to the United States, English was brand new language to me. Also the culture was different. Freshmen year at school it was very tough for me to communicate with people. I thought moving to a new country was the best day of my life but it didn’t turn out that way. The students made fun of my English. The language barrier was a struggle to get past. I would cry because I couldn’t make friends and I missed the friends I had in Nepal. I felt lonely because I missed Nepal, even though it wasn’t a good place for us to live. I didn’t like much about my new school. I didn’t like much about my new environment. American and Nepali food are different and so are the people. I remember telling my mom that I wanted to go back Nepal.
Later on I began going to the library and reading different books. I spent most of my time learning how to read and speak English. Slowly, it began sticking with me. I could communicate with teachers and friends. Now I am in a place where I can be anything and I can have any dream. Since I was little, I’ve always dreamed to become a doctor because we had no money for doctors. I want to help sick people. I am capable of anything. I strive for education.
I want to become a citizen of this country because there are a lot of opportunities. After becoming citizens we can vote in local, state, and federal elections, we can sponsor relatives to come to the U.S. and we can travel. I want to take advantage of all the great opportunities I didn’t have in Nepal. I’m now very happy living in this country and the first thing I want to do when I become a citizen is to go back to visit my country!
The photo is the author,Tara M., from Nepal