A significant amount of people moving to the United States come here for medical care. The American healthcare system may have its flaws but the ability to access good quality healthcare and medical facilities, no matter your background, is something that appeals to many refugees and immigrants. Healthcare is important to people who live in smaller countries that may not have access to proper healthcare for many of its citizens.
Alex Ishimwe and Isaie Dusang, siblings who moved from Rwanda in 2016, spoke to me abut their move to the United States. They were only 7 and 9 when their family decided to move to the US. This was because their father was sick and the family needed to get help for him urgently.
This decision was not an easy one. Alex said that they had to leave behind close friends and family to live in a strange new country where they didn’t speak the language. She found the United States to be very new and cool, there were so many new sensations and sights which made the move less scary. She said that she had never seen so many people and big buildings all in one street.
As with all changes, this move had its own challenges. To add to the language barrier, the Ishimwe-Dusang family moved from California to the smaller state of Kentucky when their father, who had recovered from his illness, had to learn to drive. Cities like California and New York can be hard places to learn to drive, especially as an adult. Kentucky proved to be the right place for them because they ended up living here for the next 3 years. Isaie said she liked Kentucky but found the students in her class different and intimidating. After learning the English language, those challenges seemed to disappear and they settled into their new life.
Today, they’re confidently speaking English and talking about their settlement in the US with happiness. They reminded me about how grateful they were to be living in the US. Since they moved here, their father got the care he needed to recover and the family was given access to more things than they could have ever imagines having in their home country. Their stories made me realize how much I take my life for granted. We often forget about how lucky we are to have the things that we do, especially if we live in bigger countries like the United States. We can get so engrossed in our fantasies of a perfect place that we forget to look around us and see what we do have. Alex and Isaie are one of the many youth that can show me and others the importance of gratitude because for many families, the things you have could be their saving grace.