Although Catholic Charities of Tennessee staff works with resettling and resettled refugees each and every day, it is hard for many of us to fully understand - and appreciate - all that they have experienced - personally, emotionally, and, most likely, even spiritually - during their journey to the United States and, specifically, Middle Tennessee.
Recently, Abdishukri Abdi, one of our Refugee Services staff members, was sworn in as a U.S. citizen. [Abdishukri, a former Catholic Charities of Tennessee refugee client, is pictured here with his wife, Kadijo Muhumed.]
In response to a congratulatory message he received from an agency staff member, Abdishukri sent the following message, which appears in its original form:
"Thank you!! Am just feeling am at home.
I was living in Dadaab refugee camps in northeastern Kenya for 18 years as refugee, I was indeed struggled with my identity for most of my life in the camp.
I was embarrassed when I was forced to introduce myself as "a Somali refugee living in Kenya". I was no longer in Somalia and yet not a Kenyan citizen. Indeed, most of my children also born in the Kenya and are also not Kenyan. Some hard questions that, always come to my mine ware: so where do I belong? Am I going to be a refugee forever? I feel I lost in between. But I believed in who I was. Later, after many dreams both day and night, time by time. My dreams become true and got resettlement opportunity to USA. Nashville through catholic charites of TN where I called home and place to be!!
Indeed, I was only 12 years old when I first arrived in Dadaab Refugee Camp from Somalia in early 1992. After, the near beautiful coastal town of Jamame in Lower Juba which I was born turned into a battlefield and there was no option but to escape. My struggle to escape the heartbreaking and indiscriminate civil violence. Thanks to US Government, Catholic Charites of TN and other Resettlement partners. Am now home."
We are proud to have you as a fellow Catholic Charities employee, Abdishukri, and as a fellow U. S. citizen!