On Wednesday, March 13, 2013 at 10:30 P.M, I left my house in Khartoum, Sudan and I began a new challenge with Atlas Corps in the United States of America. It was my first time in the United States of America and not for fun, or a conference, but to serve with the DC Mayor’s Office on African Affairs for one year.

I thought to myself that I must have been crazy to turn down two contracts that would have given me the opportunity to gain considerable income for a career and experience. It seemed foolish.

But the DC Mayor’s Office on African Affairs (OAA) gave me a new challenge and a new life. The OAA’s mission to ensure that the full range of health, education, employment, social services, safety, business and economic development information, services and opportunities are accessible to the District’s African immigrant communities is one that I support, though I’m not a resident, I’m not an Immigrant, but I have enjoyed it so far.

It took me one month to understand and learn the American culture and to adapt myself to the DC government and to make them feel that I’m not a foreign person who came from Africa with no background about America. I have become a part of this office and a person that is relied upon by other staff.

The decision to leave Sudan, my family, my friends, and my country to start a new life in another region was not easy. But it has opened my eyes to the experiences of other immigrants in search of new possibilities and opportunities.

I want to share the story of an African man who left his country at 18 to study in the United States for his undergraduate degree. But can you guess what happened to him?!! Instead of arriving in America, he went to France, where he stayed for 23 years working for non-profit organizations and traveling around the world!! He completed his undergraduate studies in the Netherlands and also received his PhD!! He met and married a beautiful French woman and had two kids, he had a nice life and beautiful family, and he forgot his big family and friends in Africa!!!

However, after 23 years he found himself divorced and unhappy. He realized that he was in the wrong place and he didn’t like his job. He decided to leave his life in France and traveled to the United States, his original destination, after 23 years he began learning to become a chef, his passion. Now, he is at the final year and remarried to a lady from his country and they have a cute baby.
He is happy enjoying his life with his family and old friends!!

His story reminds me that even though our paths take unintended turns, we can still follow our dreams. I want others to know that they can focus on their passions. Why not to make your passion and interests a career and focus on it!!

We only have one life! Let’s enjoy it and make it successful, productive, and beautiful!!

Love your work, your family, your friends, and your country!!

Thanks to Atlas Corps for giving me this opportunity.Also, thanks to OAA for supporting me during all this time and thanks to Atlas Corps Staff,Fellows, and OAA staff for being my family here!!

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