My name is Theo, and I’m an asylum seeker living in Maine. I would like to share my life experience since I arrived in the United States of America. In my experience, the U.S. is truly kind to immigrants of all walks of life, even Black people like me. The unique, heartfelt concern of the American people has helped me feel at ease here, and I believe many others would say the same.
It was very challenging when I first arrived because I wondered how I would survive without my family and close friends. However, I started getting used to things slowly. I went to the General Assistance office here in Portland, and they helped me meet my basic needs.
It was very difficult to find a place to live, and would have taken me a really long time without help, but I was very lucky and met a man from Rwanda. This man told me about Hope House on Sherman Street in Portland. He said it would be a great opportunity for me to live there, and learn good English, and get other necessary assistance before living on my own.
So I went to Hope House and they welcomed me with an impressive kindness, warmth, and super generosity. I was really amazed and started feeling that I was amongst family, although my own family is distant, now that I’m here in the U.S. The wonderful Hope House family offered to show me how to get free English classes online. They gave me a laptop so I could follow my classes on Zoom and WhatsApp.
I started studying English, and I am doing much better than before. I thank all my teachers who work very hard to teach us immigrants the English language. Now I can say I’m more confident in speaking and writing than before. Also, my sincere appreciation to everyone who helped me to get my first apartment. It is not easy to find an apartment when you’re a stranger here in the United States like me. I thank all of you very much. And thanks to Hope House for helping me figure out how to get a work permit so I can look for a job, although I have to wait and be patient because the documents are still being processed.
People in Maine are very welcoming and friendly, and Maine has beautiful weather. I love the ocean and the lush vegetation. As you know, without water there is no life. Green is medicinal, and nature is life. I consider nature the greatest wealth of your state.
But even though Mainers do so many things to help us asylum seekers, life is still not easy. I cannot possibly find words to explain it. Nonetheless, I thank all American people who have such generous hearts. I’m truly speechless and will always feel indebted. It is surely a humanitarian act to care for asylum seekers, and it is the unique heartfelt concern of the American people I have known that has helped me feel at ease.