A column devoted to immigrant lives in Portland. These are English-language learners from Portland Adult Education sharing their stories in their words. We welcome them to Portland.
I’m Lyse Bigirimana. I am a citizen of the Republic of Burundi. I now reside in Portland. I entered the United States in 2013 through JFK in New York.
I was born in Bujumbura, Burundi. I hold a diploma in the degree of the General Humanities in the section of modern letters at the Lycée of Jabe, and another degree in computer science at the technical school CSTE. In Burundi, I worked at a bank, and also at a radio station.
When I came here, I began studying English at Portland Adult Education, and this summer I studied English at Portland English also. I joined the YMCA, and I go there to play basketball. I like to play basketball and to watch TV. I like the shows Shark Tank, The Ellen Show, and Jimmy Kimmel.
I do workfare through General Assistance. My workfare is cleaning at the shelter.
I would like to study nursing and begin to work taking care of elderly people.
My name is Abdi Omar. I am from Somalia. Right now in United States I am a citizen. I live in Portland. I have four children (three sons and one daughter) and no wife. I have a big family. I have five brothers and two sisters. My brothers have nine children, and my sister has three sons and two daughters. My father and mother have died. All of my brothers live in Kenya.
I come to America 2007, first to New York. American people say, “Welcome to United States!” In my country, the weather is good, not cold. I like American food, very nice. My favorite food is rice and chicken. I drink milk, water and soda. My favorite color is black. My friend’s name is Hassan Mahamed.
I want to drive a car and also need a new house. I have my job. I like English class. For me, in childhood was different because I first started school in Portland. English is very hard.
MY STORY UPDATE December 2014
Abdi Omar, who was featured in early October, will be going back to Africa this week. Originally from Somalia, Abdi’s wife and children were living in a refugee camp in Kenya. They were recently displaced from this camp, and contacted Abdi, asking him to help them. He will try to bring them to America. We wish him safe travels and best of luck.
My name is Saida Nour Eldin. I live on Gilman St. in Portland. I’m from Sudan.
My first language Arabic. I have been in Maine since 2002. I am married. I am student at Adult Education. In Sudan, I learned English in school. English was my favorite subject.
I have three sisters and one brother. My brother has five children, my sister she has two.
My favorite color is red. My favorite food is fish. My favorite season is Spring. I like to be with my family, to grow flowers in the garden, and to cook. I don’t like to fix cars or play chess.
On holidays, to celebrate, I call my family in Sudan. On Eid al-Adha, my family have a big dinner. It was October 3-4. My sister and brother give candy to children. Very happy with friends, making food and singing.
Before in my country I had big apartment for family. Now, I live an apartment, I have two rooms and bed.
In the past, I worked in a hotel, and I worked as a cook in a church. Now, I’m a student. What I like about this is learning English. What I don’t like about this is people who talk too much. In the future, I want to be a teacher for children.
-Saida Nour Eldin
My name is Iolanda Yanagida. I am from Brazil. I speak Portuguese, but I learn English. I have two brothers and three sisters. I have two daughters, and five grandchildren. I have two nieces, two nephews, and two sons-in-law.
I work in a hotel for 9 years same job. I like my job. In the past, I working in the farm. In the past, I worked in a bakery. In the future, I want to be volunteer.
I like the weather in America. In my country no snow. My favorite season is winter. I like American country music. My favorite color is red. My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. I celebrate New Years with my family. My favorite sport is hockey.
My goals are to get a driver’s license and buy a car. I have good memories about school. I will speak English fluently. School is more difficult now.
I like to decorate the house. I live a apartment. My apartment have a kitchen, living room and bedroom. The walls is white. Near my home I have trees, stores, park. I like to listen music. I don’t sing, but I love music. In my country, music is very important.
I’m good at cooking. I was good at gardening. When I am sick it makes me feel better to drink tea and take medicine. I eat healthy food. I eat a salad and vegetables and drink a water. I don’t eat junk food. But sometimes work too much. I don’t sleep enough. I don’t drink alcohol.
I respect all politics. It’s my first time to vote in the America. I’m Democrat because of freedom. I like President Obama, is good President.
My name is Carlos Nzolameso. My father is alive in Angola. My mother passed away. I have 2 older (brother and sister), I have 7 younger (4 brother and 3 sister). I’m married and have 3 children, are daughters. I have uncle and aunt, cousins and niece.
I like American people. I don’t like American food. America have good electricity. My country no. America have many people, my country have small people. I don’t like American music. I like TV and movies.
I want to get a job, buy a car, and buy a house. I want to watch my children go to university. I want to speak very good English. I do not like to go party. My favorite subjects is history, art, music and math.
I like to play soccer. I like to watch basketball on TV. I like to be with my children. I like to cook food from my country. I like to fix electronics.
I live in an apartment with 5 rooms. My favorite room is Living room. Different my home in my country not have bathroom in the home, have bathroom outside.
When I was young, I was good at repairing cars. I sing and I play the drums but not very good. Gospel music is important for me. In my country, people play music at sports games and parties. Important music is guitar, maracas, drums, keyboard and trumpet.
I practice English in computer class, and where I volunteer. I’m a good volunteer. I clean, I distribute flyers, I cooking, I drive cars. I volunteer at YMCA and Furniture Friends.
When I am sick or sad, I pray and meditate to feel better. I eat chicken soup and drink juice to feel better.
I want to learn about electricians. I would like to work at The Power Company. Before, I was a mechanic.
My name is Diego Cobo from Guatemala.
I like American food chicken and steak. I like American clothes t-shirt and jacket. I like American people speak English. My country we no speak English. I like American tv, movies. My favorite color is red. My favorite animals are dogs.
I want to buy a car. My goal is to drive. I play soccer. I am good at soccer! I want to learn to cook. I want to learn to swim. I have a job. I am a cook in a restaurant. I make sushi. I start at 9am and I work 8 hours a day. Before, I worked in a hospital as a cleaner. I want to be a mechanic to fix cars.
My favorite subject in school was music, and I loved soccer. I like to make friends. I like to play music with my dog. I like to go to eat at restaurants. I like to pick apples.
I celebrate New Years with my family, and we celebrate Christmas too. At Christmas we play guitar with my brothers. We sing too. I celebrate September 15, Independence Day. With my family we go to church.
In my country musicians play Marimbo. In my country I play the piano for two years, and I play the drums and trumpet. When I am sad, I start play music – it makes me feel good.
I like a politician in America because Obama likes to help all the people in America. I not like politician in my country, he not help people.
To stay healthy, I never smoke. I never drink coffee. I go running, play soccer with my friends. I don’t sleep enough.
I’m thankful for my sister Maria and my brother Francisco. I’m thankful for my friend Luke and my friends in class. My friend Hugo is from Mexico. I met Hugo in restaurant.
If I had $1,000,000.00 I would buy a house, a car, and give money to help children in schools who do not have money.