Sheku Kallon

My name is Sheku and I am nineteen years old.  I was born in Liberia but I grew up in Sierra Leone.   My family moved when I was baby because of the war.  My dad was a soldier and he died when I was a baby so my mom moved with me to Sierra Leone.   I have two brothers and two sisters.  We lived in Sierra Leone until I was thirteen.  We lived in  the refugees in a camp for a while.   My mom got an apartment when I small but we moved around a lot.  I went to Freetown for holidays.   My mom was selling fish and stuff to support us.  I got some friends but they passed away.  My friends were ten years old and they got killed.  They went out looking for food and the soldiers killed them.    My mom talked to the UNH about the refugee program and told them our story and they took our pictures.  They asked where my dad was.   They asked me my real name, which is Seku Patrick Kallon.    We had to wait for some years.  We didn’t know we were going to come to America, I was surprised.   Other people were going to Canada.    I heard about America and we were told we were coming to Utah.   My language is Creole that is what we speak in Sierra Leone.

I remember leaving the country in a taxi with a bunch of people and we went to the airport in Freetown.  They gave us food, like bread and eggs.  On the airplane I got this bag I put my stuff in it.   I took my African clothes.  They gave me food I never ate before on the plane and I threw up.   My sister let me sit by the window and I was a little scared and excited.  From Sierra Leone to Liberia then another town then we came to Utah.  When we got there I was surprised it looked different.  I noticed the streets and cars and houses and the fresh air is different.   I was there with my mom and two sisters.  We lived there for three years in Salt Lake City.  We lived in an apartment with two bedrooms.  I went to school and  I went to ESL classes everyday and they taught me new words.

I admire my mother because she told me the right way to go.  She cares about me and she wants me to get an education.  Mom works at a hotel cleaning and she takes care of me and my two sisters. We moved to Portland from Utah and we found a place to live. I went to Roosevelt High School, but I left Roosevelt because there was too much fighting.  I came to Portland International Community School because my cousin Sitta told me they show you love.

I like going on field trips and taking photos with Focus on Youth.  I feel proud that my photos have been in exhibits around the city.  I am working to graduate.  I am coming to school everyday and doing my homework.  I don’t know what I will do when I graduate.

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