Aplha Oumar Diallo

In 2008 to 2013, I was a member of a political party in my country, Guinea. I had many problems so in 2013 I decided to leave my country for the US. I traveled 2 days by car from Conakry to Dakar, Senegal. When I arrived there, I was surprised because it is so different to my country, for example the roads, the highways and the buildings. I visited Dakar for two days. Then, one night I went to the Airport. I was so scared because I traveled alone.


When I arrived at JFK I waited one hour and half before I could go outside and see my brother. I lived in Queens with my brother with his family. This was my first visit in New York and I was very surprised because the airports, highways, bridges, buildings, the subway, bus stations, streets and avenues are very different to Africa. I told myself I have more hope to realize my goals in this city. For one month my brother told me to stay with them, just read and sleep. One day I said to myself “I didn't stay home in my country, so when will I look for a job and learn English?” because in this country I know Americans who speak English have the best opportunities.


After two months I had my first job In an African store in Harlem but then I had problems with my brother so I decide to leave their house. Sometimes I asked myself what I had to do. I asked some people and explained my history to them but it was the most difficult moment in my life in this country. As some people told me, some things happen in your life for a reason. One friend sent me to Bellevue Hospital and that organization helped me to surmount my difficulties as an immigrant. After one month, my friend invited me to go live with him in the Bronx. Later, I realized that if I stayed in that African store I would never be able to go to School because I worked 12 hours a day, so I quit that place. My second job was in a pizzeria in Manhattan. I became a delivery man which helped me to know this city and also have time for my ESL classes. I don't say I know everything but I have more experience now than when I came, that is why I do my best. 


However, there many difficulties to find a job, to be integrated, have good information, get immigration status and learn English. Surprisingly, there are many people who use the lack of information of newcomers to try to exploit them or make money from them. You have to be very strong to survive, to learn and to stay focused in a city like this. As a result, l continue attending my English class, developing my networking to have better information about this city, to continue my education for a better life for me and my family when they come. Then I started with the English Speaking Union.  I appreciate the way they teach. I would like to thank all of them (Bellevue Hospital, English Speaking Union and Madison Strategies).


In conclusion, I live now in this biggest multicultural city with more confidence, hope and opportunities to reach my short- and long-term goals.


ALL Stories