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StoryCorps Shorts: A Piece of Home

In 1998, a violent conflict forced Najat Hamza to flee her home in Oromia, a regional state in Ethiopia. She recalls the night she said goodbye to her mother before she, her father, and two siblings left for Kenya. Najat eventually settled down in Minnesota, but she still longs for a place she left behind. She came to StoryCorps to reflect on her journey and share what home means to her.

AIRED: September 30, 2021 | 0:02:42
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TRANSCRIPT

Un pedazo de hogarCuando Najat Hamza era joven,huyó de su tierra natal deOromia, en Etiopía, por elconflicto violento en la región.Se escapó con su padre y doshermanos y dejó atrás a su madrey sus tres hermanos menores.Eventualmente seinstaló en Minnesota.En StoryCorps ella recuerdala noche cuandotuvo que despedirse.Najat Hamza (NH): The day started like any other day

Najat Hamza (NH):El día comenzó como for me, but school ended and we were told

un día típico para mí,pero las clases terminarony nos mandaron a prepararpara irnos por siempre. to get ready to leave forever.

We didn't know when, or if, we were going to come back.

No sabíamos cuándoo si íbamos a volver. I had to leave my little brothers and my mom behind.

Tuve que dejar a mis hermanitosy a mi mamá atrás. One thing that I have never, ever forgotten was that I was

Una cosa que jamás he olvidadoes que yo estaba temblando shivering as I waved goodbye to my mother for the last time...

mientras me despedía demi madre por última vez... And in her last attempt of being a motherly figure,

Y en su último actocomo figura maternal, she walks back inside our house and grabs this blue

ella entra a nuestra casay coge un suéter azul sweater and brings it out.

y lo trae para afuera. And, and she puts it on me, you know, with her hands.

Y, y me lo pone,sabes, con sus manos. And that was her way of sending me off to the world with care.

Y esa fue su manera de mandarmeafuera en el mundo con cuidado.Ese suéter azul viajabaconmigo y está aquí That blue sweater travelled with me and it,

it is here with me in my closet.

conmigo en mi armario. It was something that I looked at and reached for whenever

Fue algo que miraba y buscabacuando pensaba en ella. I thought about her.

That is what distances do: break apart bonds that can

Eso es lo quela distancia hace:romper lazos queno se pueden reconectar. never be brought back.

I'm pretty sure all my high school friends that

Estoy segura de que mis amigosdel colegio aquí en Minnesota I went to school with here in Minnesota, wouldn't know

what I thought about when I would sit in a corner,

no sabrían qué pensabayo cuando me sentía enuna esquina alejada de ellos, away from them, while we're learning about math

mientras aprendíamos sobrematemáticas o lo que sea... or what have you...

They have no idea what a refugee child

No tienen ni idea de lo quetiene que cargar un niño from such a background carries.

refugiado con tal experiencia. And, of course, you can look at me and go,

Y por supuesto, me puedes mirary decir, "De qué hablas Najat? "What are you talking about Najat?

You went to college here, you went to high school..."

Fuiste a la universidadaquí, fuiste al colegio..." On the surface, yes.

En la superficie, es cierto. But home is the familiar.

Pero el hogar es familiar. Home is a space that belongs to you.

El hogar es un espacioque te pertenece. Home is going outside and just staring into the night sky

El hogar significa ir afueray mirar hacía el cielo nocturno and not have worries in the world.

y no preocuparsepor nada en el mundo. Even though I'm a full-fledged U.S. citizen,

Aunque soy una ciudadanaestadounidense en toda regla, my heart will always belong to Oromia,

mi corazón siemprepertenecerá a Oromia or as the world knows it, Ethiopia. o como el mundo lo conoce,Etiopía.

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