I was living in Guinea, West Africa, in the town of Conakry, when I got my visa in 2013. I had been thinking about America and how to get there but I had never traveled before. When I received the visa I was very happy and I didn’t sleep that day or night. Three months later I decided to make the journey alone. For these three months I thought of how I would change my life, live in peace, work in good conditions, breathe fresh air and live in security. I thought of how I might better pursue my business plans and be able to help my family one day. Guinea has all the resources that are needed for a good life. However, while it is a republic, there hasn’t been an election since 2010 and human rights remain an issue.
On the day of my travels my family woke up, happy to accompany me to the bus station where I would take the taxi to Senegal. Everyone in the family was smiling and some were crying for joy about my trip to the USA. I could not keep back my tears as I left my parents, brothers, sisters and my girlfriend, who was pregnant. I knew how much I would miss them but God willing, I will find them all again one day.
It was a 2 day trip in the taxi to Dakar and as it was my first trip, I was very anxious. A cousin of mine who lived in Dakar, came to meet me and wish me “bon voyage” and it made me much more comfortable and assured. During my stay in Dakar, I became aware of the big differences there regarding safety, sanitation, electricity, plumbing and respect for human rights.
My Delta Airlines flight to New York City was scheduled for 2 am. My cousin was very happy for me, believing that there would be an end to my poverty, insecurity and that I would have a better life in USA. I arrived at the Dakar Leopold Sedar Senghor International Airport at 8pm. After much conversation with Delta Airlines employees, I boarded the plane. I had tears and sorrow about leaving my parents, my family, my country and my unborn son, whom I have never yet seen.
I arrived at New York JFK at 6am and was very impressed with the lights and the many people, both employees and travelers. The airport was confusing and I wondered how I would get out of there. Suddenly I saw another cousin who was waiting for me and a big smile broke out on my face. My first words were, “Thank you, God, for helping my dream become a reality”. My cousin took me in a taxi to Queens. On the way I looked from left to right to see how different it all is from Africa, from my country. The roads, bridges, buildings, cars and nature were very impressive. It looked like Paradise. After being in New York for a few weeks, I began to travel on the subway. I was overwhelmed with the numbers of people on the move, traveling underground. It was very complicated to me and I was lost several times.
Eventually I realized that everything depends on time and patience. Today I am proud of myself and proud to live in the USA, particularly in New York City. I hope to live better than I did before, to continue to study and work, perhaps even to start my own business. In the life I live now I have much more hope than ever before. When I was in my country I was very disheartened and unhappy. The lack of so many things made me very uncertain and insecure. Here I just live in peace, work and study in order to support and help my family who has not the chance to be here in the USA.