News & Blog: Learner Stories

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In My Own Words: Rebekah, May 2014

I’m married to a former “lost boy of Sudan” who is now a United States citizen. We have four children ranging from 11 months the 10 years old and I will be thirty years old next month.

When I grew up in South Sudan things were very difficult. I lived in the village where there was no electricity, no school, no good buildings and no hospital because our country had been in civil war for 21 years between the North and the South Sudan.

In 2003, I got married and my husband first took me to Nairobi, Kenya to get a better education. Then we decided to bring the family to America. When my children and I arrived here in 2010, we were very excited to be here because everything looks different: lots of cars, factories, stories, and hospitals. The people of this country are very helpful and friendly, even if they don’t know where you came from or what color you are as long as you are a human being. I like being here, but life has its challenges. All of my children’s grandparents are in South Sudan. It can be lonely. But I know my kids will have a better future here.

When I first came here, I only spoke a little bit of English. I asked myself, how can other people understand me if I don’t speak good English. I said, “Okay, let me find a place for an English course.” So I started coming to the Literacy Center of West Michigan in 2012 and I am still in class. Now my spoken English has improved and I can understand much more than before. My first goal is to learn English well, and take care of my kids at this time. Then, my next goal is to get a GED. I know this is very challenging to have four kids and study English at the same time, but I will try my best for my future.

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