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Coming to the US is “Coming to Heaven”, Kenyan in Diaspora

Peter Musila 2 years ago
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Kenyan professor Dr. Joseph Onesimus described the act of travelling to the US as the same as boarding a plane to heaven.

Dr. Joseph who was part of a panel of Elgin Community College faculty left his motherland Kenya for studies in Chicago.

However, he faced some challenges on arriving there, as it was winter, he had made no friends yet, and the culture shock was also a significant challenge for him, making him develop homesickly.

Onesimus believes in the good of Americans, their generosity and giving, even as Americans grapple with matters like wealth inequality and racial tensions.

“You obey the rules, that shows order and a great system that works right,” he said. “You don’t have to have somebody watching over you-you do what is right.”

Avid Carrillo, Onesmus friend, left Mexica with his family for greener pastures search in the US and he could also agree to Onesimus’ statements.

The men, who now teach at Elgin Community College, told their stories Tuesday as part of the school’s “Coming to America” panel discussion.

In it, they and four other ECC teachers offered insight into what made them leave their homelands for America, how they acclimated to a new world, and how they view the United States then and now.

“The reason I decided to have this program is that I wanted to show you what it was like to have people on our campus, having people from all over the world come here to our classrooms,” Hallpike said.

ECC has a diverse group of students with most having related stories. Among them is Carol who left her country Mexico at the age of 12, they had lived in the streets for a while before making it to the US. Carol once tried to drop out of college to assist his struggling father in raising money for the family’s upkeep.

“If you think that I brought you to this country so that you could work as hard as I do, you’re wrong. If you’re going to make it, it’s here,” Carrillo said his father told him.

“Contrary to popular belief outside American borders, the streets here are not paved in gold,” said Parul Raval, who travelled from Mumbai, India.

Raval’s family and parents live in West Rogers Park, and they still practice their Indian culture while in the US. He described the US to be a place perceived by many as a place where everyone is wealthy, which is not the case for all.

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