My story begins on Sep 9th, 2003. I was in a small city with a decent house and a decent life. Eventually, we had to leave. Life there wasn’t meant for us. We left poor, my mother and big sister sick, and my dad carrying us for miles on foot. Night falls and we are in the middle of Africa, no city lights in sight, just a tent. I remember crying at around 3 years old one night in the tent. Not knowing that right outside was a lion! My parents did everything they could to make me silent. That was an experience I never forgot because of me we all could have died that night. A few months down the line we moved to a small village in Zambia with some chickens and other animals. Around that time is when I was molested by a lady in the village not knowing the dangers of HIV and other diseases for which I’ve had many. I am grateful that none were life threatening and I thank God every day that I stand here free. Why? Because I was born a special child. My parents had HIV and so did my older sister. They didn’t have medication or anything to help prevent the spread. But when I was born my father prayed every day that I was born healthy and I was. I came into the world healthy and I am forever grateful for that.
We moved to another village in the same area. We had a mud house and we lived near a clinic. One specific day I remember we all went to a giant lake area far away and got in wooden row boats. A bunch of the kids jumped in including my sister and she forgot she didn’t know how to swim and almost lost her life. She had to get saved. One of the saddest days of my life because she was my first ever friend. It used to just be me and her against the world. Our living conditions were beyond terrible. We had a mud house and floor and we slept on a thin sheet of sorts with a single blanket. We never had any toys, any TV, or wifi. We even had a snake living in the corner in a hole, my dad removed and killed it. But it was normal. I remember a specific morning going outside and seeing 2 snakes that fought each other to the death. Going deep into the woods with snakes and other animals all I had was flip-flops, torn-up clothes, and nothing else. I could have died at any point and I never realized it. I used to think my parents just didn’t want me to have fun. But now I understand I was special and they couldn’t afford to lose me. Losing a child must be the worst thing ever. My dad was the only one working in the family at the time. There were only 4 of us: me, my dad, my mom, and my sister. My dad rode a bike to work every day, our only vehicle. We used to have to go to a water pump to get clean water to boil and take baths.
We lived near a river that had a bridge. It was next to a road and over the weak bridge was a school my sister attended. A lot happened near this river once it was raining and the whole area all the way to the house flooded and I was almost taken. My mom had to come and save me. My mom was my hero back then and she still is, nobody cared for me more than her. I remember once we went to a lake area and we washed up with the water. It was a fun day I will never forget. We ate dragon fruit and went home. They grew in large abundance in the area I grew up in. The time my life started to change was around 2008-2009. My dad brought us a radio and it was the coolest thing ever.
One day I was at my aunt Jane’s and my mom was washing me up and we got the call. My dad told us to get ready to pack our stuff. My dad’s friend came and we went to a city in Zambia at night with just bicycles to carry what we had. God bless him we got there on our own and he went back. We went to an immigration camp and we stayed there a while. Many memories of my first time seeing a TV, my first time seeing lights in a building with chairs and other luxuries I never really got to comprehend. We would get in a coach with a bunch of other families and we would all go to the airport. It was a small one. We drove up to the plane and got on. I was just amazed and confused as to what was happening. I never knew any of those things existed. I would see an airplane flying miles high and never really wonder what was in there. My whole life was a bubble confined to that little world in Zambia. The only world I knew I had no clue there was an outside world.
My first time in America we landed at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago during the 2009 blizzard. My first time seeing snow in my life. We stayed a while in a hotel and then went to Baltimore. It was still snowing when I got here in December of 2009 but it was my first time having a TV and a bathroom and a bed. I remember me and my sister picking which one we wanted. We had a DVD player we watched movies on and we would watch things like Shrek, Sharktales, and Tarzan. I was about 6 years old when I got here and my mind was still exploding. I saw a lot of cars and foods I never had before or knew existed. Holidays and nice clothes and shoes. It was all so amazing. I started school at Moravia Park elementary school. I had severe ADHD so my mind would always wonder. I transferred to Dallas for a while and I got better at reading and other subjects. I went to Furley elementary school and I met a lot of people and made real friends that I still know. It was around this time I learned about science and became addicted to astronomy. I know everything there is to know and would always be the first to answer anything asked in science. I knew about dinosaurs, diseases, and history. As I got to middle school I met more people. I attended Baltimore Collegiate School for Boys. I graduated from there in the honors class.
Not many people can say they met a person with the life I’ve lived. Outside of school, life was hard. People would die, you see it every day. I learned how cold this city truly was when I witnessed my first murder. In my backyard I watched a man get shot and die and my mind changed. I knew I couldn’t play around anymore out here. I had to be smart. As I said, I’m different from everyone else. I’m grateful to say I made it to 18. I didn’t die, I never killed anyone, I didn’t sell drugs or become a junky. I’m a soon-to-be high school graduate who has no idea what I want to do. But sharing my story was a priority of mine. I attend Bard High School Early College. I don’t know what my future holds for me but I hope I can eventually find my path.
Those are some of my life stories. Many people would be depressed living the life I lived. People in Baltimore believe their lives are hard but I’ve experienced both sides growing up in pure poverty in a jungle in Africa. Mud housing with no heating or AC. Some complain about not having running water or working lights. I didn’t even have a sink or a switch, not a single wire in the house. No stairs, just filth, and I lived with no problems. So never give up. People tell me there are people in worse situations than whatever I’m going through not knowing I was there in that terrible situation. Having nothing, I’m grateful my parents always did their best to fill my stomach.
I want to help others in my situation and change lives.
I work at Amazon currently and I hate working for others and I don’t have the time to wait to become a manager. That’s time wasted. I wanna work for myself on my own time. I want to live happily and make my family comfortable. I don’t want my parents to have to work forever. I want my story to inspire others that they aren’t alone. I’ve been through hell and never had nice things. I never give up. Thank you for The Secret Super App. I will use it for my dreams.