~Translated from rhe Sudanese language~
I am a prisoner of the written word. Words (let alone, letters themselves) flummox me.
I cannot read, especially English. I came from the country of Sudan, in Africa, three years ago; I came to America for a better life, but all it's done has brought me heartache. I can't read a lot of the words; I know very simple words and not much else.
I don't speak English that well either. I have to have my children help me with reading the forms or what things say. I get very embarrassed because I have to depend on them more than they do me. And I'm supposed to be the grownup. I often get lost and have to have people help me find my way because I cannot read the signs.
People here give me looks of pure hatred because of my inability to read or speak English. They call me stupid or lazy and it truly upsets me.
I would love to take classes to learn how to read, but the truth of the matter is this: I am very scared to. I'm afraid people will laugh at me or call me stupid or silly. So I don't even bother to go. I know there are plenty of places where one can learn to read or speak English, but I'm just too reluctant to. Do you see what I am saying?
My children are nine and thirteen, both beautiful girls. They are also very smart. They go to school and everything. In addition, I have a two-year- old son, but he's too little to help me. I just stay home and take care of him when the girls are at school. They help me when I need to go to the doctor or to the store. I like having them home from school in the summer because that way they can go with me on my runs and help me with what is going on, so I can understand. Then things don't seem as scary.
Maybe one day, perhaps soon, I will gather enough courage to want to learn to read or speak English. It truly would free me from this prison and from life in general! Right now, life for me happens to be very, very frightening!