Thursday, 9 July 2009
From the land of oppression & black mail 2 a land of democracy
By Zewdu Mengiste
When I came to the UK I assumed that life would be very simple. But that is not true! There are big challenges. My first problem was the weather. Back home there is no snow, only a little rain and cold weather. The second was the food problem. In Ethiopia the male does not make food, he is not allowed to do that in our culture. I'm also the victim of this bad culture so for over one month I had a big problem making my food. The third problem was the language. Most British people speak fast so I couldn’t understand them and they couldn’t understand me
But now most of these problems are more or less solved. Now I am a good cook! And the weather is warm. I like the British people, because most of them are willing to help any person and they are always cheerful. So I like this good culture. In Leeds there is an Ethiopian community and an Ethiopian Orthodox church, so I'm very happy.
I was alone in Leeds. Now, I have been re-united with my wife and children from Ethiopia and we are building a new life in Leeds with the support of friends here. I am now used to British culture, and I'm supporting other asylum seekers and refugees, especially other Ethiopians because I'm also from Ethiopia
I was volunteering at Oxfam and BBC. I am adopting the culture of British people. doing some research with Leeds University about how English language skills impacts on the lives of refugees and asylum seekers. We enjoyed a wonderful meeting with Ethiopian cross country runners at Leeds Met University. I am volunteering in the Ethiopian community, refugee council, RETAS and I am working with an Ethiopian radio station in London.
My children have adopted English culture very well, better than me! They're all doing well at school. Life's good for us here and we have many English friends. We are able to keep some of our Ethiopian culture here, eating traditional foods and helping our children to remember our home language and culture. Like people from all over the world we value our culture, and don't want our children to struggle if we go back to Ethiopia. Until then we will learn all we can about Britain.
Zewdu Mengiste is an investigative journalist from Ethiopia. He is working with Ethiopian Consensus Radio in London and volunteering in Leeds with the Refugee Council, RETAS (Refugee Education and Training Advisory Service), the Ethiopian Community and now he learning journalism in Leeds collage of Technology