I returned home at midnight, after a long day of school and work. My house was dark, and my mother was sick, moaning from pain. There was no option to take her to the hospital. We are from the Gabooye clan. The majority clans here in Somalia ban Gabooye from many hospitals.
My neighborhood is dangerous – there is a bullet around every corner – one day a bomb exploded in our yard.
My mom worked hard to sell vegetables so that we could eat. She encouraged me to go to school because she wanted me to become a doctor.
On my first day of school, I sat with the other students, wearing the same uniform as them. The teacher asked me to introduce myself. I stood up and said my name. The teacher interrupted with “Which clan are you?” I looked down at my feet and said slowly, “I am a Gabooye.” The teacher told me to sit at the back of the room. I became an invisible student.
Discrimination turned into danger when I started seeing a girl who was from one of the majority clans. Her family kidnapped me and threatened to kill me. I was forced to escape to Kenya, alone. But things did not get better there. I was forced to work for no money and beaten when I asked for some. It was so hopeless that I tried to kill myself.
Desperate, I fled to Brazil – that was the start of my three-month journey to America. I arrived in Boston on a cold and snowy day in 2017. All that I have been through has given me courage and the ability to stand up to fear. I might not see my mother, but I can make her dream come true for me to become a doctor and help those in need – no matter who or where they come from.