A Nurse for Nepal

#3

A Nurse for Nepal

I was born in 1997, in a refugee camp in Nepal. My parents were born in Bhutan and forced to flee our country. I lived with my dad, my mom, and my brother. Living in a camp wasn't easy because school was challenging. Our teachers were mean. They used to beat us if we made even a small mistake. There weren't opportunities to dream for the future. It was hard just to survive there. I had to wake up at 3 in the morning to get in line to get clean water. If I didn't wake up at 3 am, I had to wait in line. Sometimes I didn't get a chance to get clean water because the people who managed the water only let it run an hour and a half. In our camp there were a lot of huts, so some huts didn't get clean water every day. When I was eight years old, I had to carry water jugs that weighed more than 20 pounds. I had to start working when I was nine years old to make money to support my family. The work that I did when I was nine was called spinning wool. The amount that I made by spinning wool was 85 rupees which is equivalent to 85 cents. It took me a week to finish the wool they gave me to spin.

There were many fires in the camp. When there was a fire in someone's home, it would spread to other homes. The fire trucks would come only after the fire was over because we weren't citizens of Nepal. We had to cut fresh leaves off of the plants to put out the fires, but these plants were what we ate every day. Many people died or were burned in the fires. My house was small and weak. We didn't have many rooms in our house. When storms came, houses easily blew over. It was hard for us to fix our houses after they blew down. The laws in camp were not good. The police were not good; they would only help people who gave them money. If you belonged to a lower caste, they might not help you even if you had some money.

In my culture, we have the caste system. A caste is like a class of people: upper, middle and lower. You are not allowed to mix classes, for example a girl or a boy of higher class caste is not allowed to get married to somebody of a lower caste. The people having higher class caste are more dignified and are more respectable. Those people are considered as priests, second class people are the brave people who do everything for the sake of country, and third class people are servants; they do all lower level of jobs like polishing shoes, and making knives. I am in the middle caste. Even though I was in the middle caste in my country being a woman was still a roadblock to success. I was only expected to achieve so much and would only receive limited schooling.

"Moving on is only for those who are brave enough to let go of the past. Those who know they deserve a better future." When I was ten, my family filled out an application to come to the United States. After one year, the application was accepted. In 2010, we took a bus to Chandragadi, then an airplane to Kathmandu. We had to stay in Kathmandu for three days before leaving for the USA. If we got sick in those three days, they would have sent us back to the camp or they would made us stay in the Kathmandu until we got better. We dared not get sick; I remember trying not to sneeze or cough even once at that time.

From Kathmandu, we took three different airplanes before landing in the USA. I was excited and nervous at the same time. I thought my house would be a palace, but my family ended up in a small apartment. I thought we would have a maid; back in Nepal, people would say that what would happen in the USA but it did not.

I started the 61h grade at Thomas Jefferson. I was surprised the teacher didn't hit the students, even if I didn't do my homework. In the USA, the schooling is kinder than in Nepal. Still, it was a challenge to learn to speak English. I studied hard and forced myself to speak English even if I made a lot of mistakes at first. I made progress, I struggle sometimes but I keep trying to speak perfect English. Family helps. We had some family living here when we arrived. When we got here, there weren't many Nepali people in Cleveland; my cousins helped my dad to get a job. This was hard because my dad didn't speak English. My mom was in the hospital for one month. She was unconscious. It was a hard time for my family. At this time our cousins were our champions as they helped us make sense of our new homeland.

In the past six years, I have learned a great deal. I have learned to think independently, persist in hard times, and solve problems all while keeping a sense of humor. My experiences have developed empathy, compassion, and perseverance in me. My goal for the future is to go to The Ohio State University to become a nurse. When I was in Nepal I knew a girl of my own age who had cancer. In Nepal we didn't have good hospitals like here in the America. If that girl had lived here, she would have survived, but back in Nepal she died. I have never forgotten her. To honor her memory sick, I want to become an Oncology Nurse. When I became a nurse, I want to go back to Nepal and help all the suffering people.

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