Centura students in 4th – 6th grades had the very special opportunity this week to listen to Estella, a Refugee from the Sudan. Recently the students were involved with a global read aloud project that focused on the book “A Long Walk to Water” by. Linda Sue Park. The book is about a boy that walks away form his war-torn village. He is a “lost boy” refugee, destined to cover Africa on foot, searching for his family and safety. The book is also about a girl that has to walk 8 hours everyday to fetch water for her family.
After reading the story, Mrs. Trumler was able to contact a local refugee that would be able to give a first hand account about what her life was like then and now.
“Estella is a single mother of five children, aged 3 up to 15. She is a dedicated mother, who believes that education is imperative to a successful life. She came to the United States in 2005 from Sudan. She had to hide and run for her life to get to America to have her freedom. She left Sudan at the age of 19 and fled to Cairo, Egypt. There she contacted the UN and set into motion her journey to the United States. It took until 2005, but she finally made it. She came to America without any family here and without knowing any English. She worked extremely hard to learn English and is now fluent and helps translate for others who need help. She works at the Veteran’s home and is taking her final test to get into nursing school on Wednesday, Dec. 6th. She became an American citizen in 2008 and is proud to be an American. Her family is receiving a home from Habitat from Humanity in early 2018. She has already put in 479 hours of work helping build their home. She came and spoke to us about what being a refugee was like. We had read the book “A Long Walk to Water” about the Lost Boys of Sudan and were so lucky to have Estella share her own story with us about having to flee Sudan. The biggest surprise when she visited us was seeing her strength and positive attitude. She had grown up in an area of Sudan with no running water and no electricity. She showed us how to carry around four gallons of water on her head without using her hands! She shared that they had one meal a day and only water to drink, to us this sounds unthinkable, but she smiled the whole time and said “You can do it!”. She had to walk a long ways to school everyday where her father was a school keeper. When she was in her upper teens, her family was forced to choose between being Christian and Muslim. They chose Christian, so her father lost his job and they were forced to move to the mountains, where the living conditions were considerably lower. Estella wanted her freedom and fled. She had to change her name and hide in fear, but she never gave up or lost hope. We have never seen someone so strong, positive and full of joy. She is an inspiration to us all. We can’t think of a better family to receive your gift this Christmas!”