Student Story: Salua Toto


When asked what memories or traditions she missed most about home in Sudan, Salua chose to talk about their Christmas time celebrations.

“In Sudan, at Christmastime, everyone would contribute to the holiday. We would come together to celebrate. The adults would gather lots of meat. On the day of Christmas, everyone in the town gets together to have lots of meat that they all killed beforehand and we’d eat and we’d celebrate as one big family. But the celebrating doesn’t stop then; afterwards, for a couple of hours a week, many from the churches get together and we’d celebrate together till New Years,” said Salua.

Salua left Sudan because her husband, Almluk, came to the United States and she wanted to be with him. They sought a better life and better job opportunities. They picked Nebraska because they believed that it would be good for their kids to be in a smaller town that is quiet and safer for her and her family.

Salua never attended school in Sudan because she’s the oldest daughter in her family and she needed to take care of her brothers and sisters. Salua has been studying at the Literacy Council of Grand Island since December of 2016, but she still has trouble reading and writing in English.

Salua can speak Nuba, Arabic, and thinks she speaks English relatively well. She would like to learn how to perfect her English so that she can hopefully get a better job — she’s currently working at JBS (a meat packaging plant) — and works Thursday evenings with her tutors, Susan Albers and her sons, toward getting her GED.

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Grand Island, NE 68801