Abdelatif is from the Darfur region of Western Sudan. When fighting came to his village in 2003, his father was killed and he had to flee for his life. He was 17. 8 years later, waiting at the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya, his paperwork was processed to send him to the U.S. He was finally able to make contact with his family that had stayed behind in Sudan. He spoke with his mother on the phone, and she didn’t believe it was him—she thought he’d been dead for many years!
In 2011 he was sent to Chicago, where he worked cleaning at a retirement home. He saved up a couple thousand dollars and sent it to his mother, who was able to use it to open a store in their village in Sudan to be able to support their family. In 2012 Abdelatif moved to Grand Island, hearing from a friend that there were better-paying jobs here. He is very involved with the Sudanese community in Nebraska, often traveling to visit friends and newcomers in Omaha. He quickly finished paying off his debt to the U.S. government, and now works as many hours as he can at JBS (70-80/week) to build a house for his family in Sudan.
In spite of these long hours of hard work, he remains a dedicated English student. In a little over a year of studying at the Literacy Council he has completed 2 book levels with his tutor and started a third. He’s also currently studying for his citizenship test, which he will be eligible to apply to take in October 2016. He would love to be a writer someday; gradually he is working with his tutor on writing about his life and journey to the U.S. In spite of the hardship he has faced, Abdelatif considers himself lucky and is thankful to be here, since so many are still waiting in the refugee camps. He enjoys the quiet life in Grand Island and appreciates the opportunity to work and support his mother and siblings in Sudan.