Being Uprooted for a Better Life
Dibaba Bedane

          When people uproot themselves from their native country, they often feel there is  nowhere they can call  their home. However, moving from place to place generates the best possible life for some people. It is the best solution that leads to a better quality of life for an individual who has difficult living conditions. People in every country have their own opinions about leaving family and birth place behind. In my experience, uprooting myself has been invaluable in creating the best possible life for me and my family.

          Leaving my hometown and going to the capital city of Ethiopia was an absolute necessity for escaping poverty and hardship. I was born and raised in a small village in Ethiopia, and the people who lived around the area were farmers. They did not know that they could find better opportunities in another place, so they lived a hard life from year to year. They stayed in the same place from generation to generation and struggled with agriculture that never changed their lives. It also limited the lives of those in the next generation. For example, parents did not allow their children to leave them alone or to leave their land when their children wanted to go elsewhere to overcome their poverty. Parents thought only of themselves; they didnít think of their childrenís future. Many chose to follow their familyís old traditions and ended up staying at home. While my friends decided to stay with their parents, I preferred to move to the capital city after the sixth grade to change my life. I migrated to Addis Ababa and started to look for any kind of job. It was difficult to get a job because I was so young, and the economy was not developed. I suffered for a while because I did not have enough money to feed myself well. There were times when I only ate two slices of bread all day. However, I did not give up looking for a job. Finally, I got a job as a mechanic for Solomon Automotive Garage. I earned little money, twenty dollars a week, and continued working hard to get a higher salary. I learned very quickly how to fix vehicles and to repair different auto parts.  Five months later, I got a promotion, and my salary increased from twenty to forty dollars a week. It didnít take long for me to become a professional at this automotive shop because of my hard work and determination to have a more comfortable life in the future.

     After a few years of working and saving some money, I started running my own business as a professional auto mechanic and auto body repairman. Then, my financial problems were solved, and most of the difficult situations that I had before changed. I could eat any food I liked and could wear anything I wanted. At this point, I was able to start helping my family. Because of my support, my family had  better circumstances than other people who lived in my hometown. My younger brother and sister started going to school instead of struggling with agriculture. Leaving my roots behind laid the foundation for my life. It not only created the best life for me, but it also dramatically improved my familyís circumstances.

          Unlike me, most of my friends who didnít want to move from their hometown lived a hard life. They didnít understand that leaving their village might present the only opportunity to get out of poverty. Later on, some of them depended on their families and others relied on people outside their families to survive. Instead of staying in one place and suffering from financial problems, moving out of bad circumstances would have been a better choice for these individuals. 

          Several years after leaving my hometown, I decided to leave my country. I  came to the USA in 2001. Even though I had advanced my financial circumstances in Addis Ababa ,  I did not want to limit myself by staying there.  I believed that by coming to the USA , I would be able to change my own and my familyís standard of living even more. At first, it was not easy to survive as an immigrant in this new country without family or friends around me. There were a lot of obstacles such as learning a new language, filling out applications, going to interviews and finding my way around. It was also not easy to get a job without previous U.S. work experience even though I had had a lot of work experience in Ethiopia . However, there was no doubt in my mind that I could overcome these problems because of my previous experience. After struggling some months looking for a job, I found one and started working as a machine operator for Trend Technologies Company. It didnít take long for me to become an expert machine operator because of my automotive work experience in Addis Ababa. After two years of working hard and saving some money, I bought a house for my family in a small city in Ethiopia, which was located a few miles from my hometown. Now, I am not the only family member who has left my native village; my entire family has left, too. After they moved from there, they were able to get electricity and a telephone, things that they had never benefited from before. I can contact my family by telephone whenever I want to talk to them. My brothers and sisters keep going to school, and I am also continuing to take courses because I never had the chance to go to college. In my experience, uprooting ourselves has created a better life for all of us.

           In general, while I still feel rooted in my family and culture, leaving them has brought about a whole new life for me and, ultimately, for my family. If I had stayed in my birth place with my family, I would be just another person who continued to live in poverty in an arid agricultural village. Now, I am happy about my lifestyle and am able to help others who donít have enough money to survive. Leaving my roots behind has resulted in a more productive life. Having experienced success in my career has increased my confidence and given me genuine strength. I believe that success will come to people who have the courage to uproot themselves and move out of bad circumstances to find better opportunities.