My past and present life at a glance By yohanse Nurga

My life is full of moving from place to place. I moved around in Ethiopia before coming to the United States and life is very different between the two places.

I was born in the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa. Addis Ababa is the capital city of Ethiopia and located at the center of Ethiopia’s map. Six months after my birth, my mom was not financially strong to raise me on her own, so she gave me to my grandparents to live with them while she started to work in Addis Ababa. My grandparents live in the rural part of Ethiopia called the Gurage zone. The Gurage zone is in southern Ethiopia. While the working national language of Ethiopia is Amharic, people who live in the Gurage zone speak the Guragigna language. Since I lived in the Gurage zone, my first language is Guragigna. My grandparents don’t have electricity sources, so they cook food by using wood and fire; furthermore, they use a fire lamp at night to get light. According to the World Bank (“Universal electrification”, 2018), seventy percent of the Ethiopian population does not have the access to electricity, but Ethiopia does have the resources to make electricity accessible to all populations. World Bank also mentioned that the Ethiopian government is working on providing sixty-five percent of the Ethiopian population with electricity by 2025.

On the right is a map of Ethiopia and it shows that Addis Ababa is at the center. (This map is retrieved from vidiani.com is made under CC BY-NC-ND license)

After a few years, my mom applied for a Diversity Immigrant Visa to try her chance at an opportunity to come to the USA. Luckily, she got the US Diversity Immigrant Visa. At the time, I was still living with my grandparents while my mom was finishing her process to migrate to the USA. She moved to the United States around 2003.

This photo is a picture of me to the left and my uncle Kinfe Michael to the right. ( Photo by a friend of my uncle copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved.)

Two of my uncles, whose names are Kinfe Michael and Ayele, were living together in Addis Ababa. They decided to take me to live with them one year before I had to start school. After a few years of living with my grandparents, I moved to Addis Ababa and started kindergarten a year later. Moving to Addis Ababa was crucial for me because in the place where my grandparents live, it takes more than 2 hours of walking to get to school and there were no ways of transportation except our legs. Due to the lack of transportation in rural areas of Ethiopia, many children start school at the age of 7 or above. I was lucky that I had a family that lived in Addis Ababa which helped me to start my kindergarten at normal starting age. Since Addis Ababa is the capital city of Ethiopia many people choose to migrate to Addis Ababa from other rural regions of Ethiopia. In fact, according to Population Stat (“Addis Ababa”, 2020), approximately 7.5 million people live in Addis Ababa, which makes her the top populous city in Ethiopia.

After I started kindergarten, Ayele got married and moved to another house. I lived most of my life in Addis Ababa with Kinfe. The year I started middle school, Kinfe got married which helped us to live a better life. They also bore two children. I was more focused on playing than studying, which was my weakness. Even though I lacked to focus on my schoolwork, I was able to successfully pass all my grade levels without repeating any. However, passing grade nine was a miracle for me because my grades were really low, and I was in a panic over passing or repeating the ninth grade.

Photo of me and my classmates wearing our middle school uniform in Ethiopia. 8th grade graduation ( Photo by school photographer copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved)

My mom and I sometimes met by an international phone call to talk about how I was doing and how life was going. The problem was we couldn’t call from Ethiopia to her because it was very expensive to call international phones from Ethiopia. So, the only way I met her was when she was calling. At the time, I was studying in a private school, so my mom was sending money to my uncle to pay my school fee. She paid a lot of sacrifice for me, and I am grateful now that I am making her proud by being a hard worker in my school and activities. After a few years of living and working in America, my mom married my stepfather and bore two children. She also started the process to bring me to the USA. This was also a tough process for her because it took her more than two years to make my immigration process successful.

To the right is photo of my uncle, me, his wife Woinshet, their children Yosetina, and Robel. It was Yosetina's graduation to first grade. This day was a week left for me to come to the USA(Photo by unknown copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved.)

Finally, my immigration process was completed successfully. After I took my 10th-grade final exam, I came to the USA in the summer of 2018. It was a bit hard for me to adapt to the weather. The humidity was harder for me to adapt too but gradually I got used to it.

The photo to the left is my mom welcoming me to the United States when I enter the house. My sister was sitting on the couch.(Photo by Alem Gebremedhin copyright 2020 All rights Reserved)

My siblings and me on our way to Philadelphia Comcast Center. Gesture and portrait shot(Photo by Yohanse Nurga copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved)

During that summer, my mom took me out to Philly to visit some historical places like: Liberty Bell, Philadelphia City Hall, Comcast Center, LOVE Park, and other enjoyable places in the city of Philadelphia. Next time when I go to Philly, I will try the popular Philadelphia cheesesteaks because I didn’t try one before. Historically, Visit Philly.com (Philadelphia Cheesesteaks, n.d.) said that Philadelphia cheesesteak was invented in 1930 by a hot dog vendor Pat Olivieri. I have yet many more places to visit around Philly and all-over United States.

Photo of my mom, my siblings, and me. We took this picture when I first visited Penn's landing.(Photo by stranger copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved)
Me having a good time at Philly Love Park(Photo by Aberash Nurga copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved.)
Philadelphia City Hall close shot during my visit. This building is the best design I have ever seen (Photo by Yohanse Nurga CC BY-NC-ND)

The one thing that amazed me in the USA is having high access to technology and the Internet. This motivated me to love and get to know the technology more in deep. Coming to the USA opened a big opportunity for me. Now, I am living in the USA and currently studying at Pennsylvania State University to pursue a Computer Science degree. After I complete my study I have a plan to work on my major. After a few years, I will move to Ethiopia to make a positive impact on poor people by making them connected with technology. My Computer Science degree will give me the ability to achieve my long-term plan.

Since I was born, I have lived with different people and moved to different places. I have lived with four different families and now with a roommate in college. These experiences of living with a variety of people have taught me how to live with others peacefully. Additionally, moving around in Ethiopia, I saw how most of Ethiopia did not have full access to technology or educational opportunities. Now, when I moved to the United States, it’s different. There is more access to technology. I want to use this opportunity and make a difference in others’ life. It is also the reason I chose Computer Science as a major.

The photo at the top are me opening my dorm room at PSU for the first time and the other photo is the view inside my room(Photo by Yohanse Nurga copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved)


Ethiopia’s transformational approach to universal electrification. (2018, March 8). World Bank. https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2018/03/08/ethiopias-transformational-approach-to-universal-electrification#:%7E:text=About%2070%20percent%20of%20the,clinics%20have%20access%20to%20electricity.

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia population (2020, September 7) - population stat. https://populationstat.com/ethiopia/addis-ababa

Where to find the best cheesesteaks in Philadelphia. (n.d.). Visit Philadelphia. https://www.visitphilly.com/food-drink/philadelphia-cheesesteaks/

Created By
Yohanse Nurga