“Then and Now: How the Perseverance of a Working, Ethiopian Single Mother Molded the Persona of her American Daughter.”

Written By: Tseyon Yezihalem

January 31, 2017

I grew up in a two-room apartment in the middle of Georgia, common household features; such as, the existence of stairs within a household were thought of as decadent luxuries representative of the incredibly wealthy. My mother emigrated from Ethiopia to the United States in search of fresh opportunities for family back home. As a single mother in the United States she had to provide the basic needs for family in Ethiopia as well as her children. Her sacrifices in fulfilling her aspirations and her willingness to help others encouraged me to be the woman I am today.
My mother began working at a local gas station, risking her life by working a dangerous job simply to provide the needs for us. Certain days, she would come home and tell stories; such as, “Can you believe what happened today? The gas station across the street was robbed and someone was shot.” As a child she aspired to be an engineer, but her perseverance in helping others superseded her wants. Every day she risked her safety to give her family happiness; countless days where we were unsure if she was going to come home safely. My mother would buy us anything we wanted so that we could be equal to our peers in school. These personal sacrifices of hers are what allowed me to be who I am, one who seeks fulfillment of others.
The past few years I have volunteered at my church, I founded a tutoring program for children who need aid in their academics, and a teaching program for children learning to read and write the Ethiopian Amharic alphabet. This is a meaningful commitment to me; it allows me to attain the values passed on by my mother, characteristics and values of an influential leader, and a person who helps others and achieves the satisfaction of others without expecting anything in return. Also, the smiles on the faces of children is very meaningful because I can see I have made a change in their very lives. More specifically, as children, they can remember my influence and they in turn can seek to make this fulfillment in the lives of others.
Since childhood I have wanted to become a doctor because of my love for helping people and making an impact on their lives. While healing people will be my main priority as a doctor, I do not want to only help people overcome disease after disease. For a much larger impact, I plan on being involved with research and drawing ideas from my patients and finding answers about the ailments that plague the human mind. I hope to accelerate the development and treatment of cures by fighting for a better alternative. Also, I want to work in a country where doctors are scarce, where people need proper aid. I am able to use experiences from my education and helping people across the world to give myself a strong background in knowing how to help to the best of my abilities.
Today, I am planning my journey of helping people by teaching myself foreign languages. The knowledge of many languages will help me bond with patients and truly make me a doctor without any borders. The desires of my mother allowed me to be the woman I am today, one who plans on fighting for health and one who will help every person regardless of money, background, or stigma.