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Joseph~Immigration Project

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FC: My Journey to Ellis Island | Joseph Min

1: Ellis Island buildings | The Boat I rode to Ellis island

2: March 15th, 1907 My name is Shaaban Sheba III and I am 13 years old. I was living a normal life like any other teenagers at my age until today. At dinner, my parents said that in two days we were leaving to Sirte, Libya. I asked them why, and they said we were going to America, the country of hope, because we would live a new and better life. I told them that I was happy living here in Rig-Rig, Chad. I also said that if I left, I will miss my friends and families that are living here. My parents and I got into a big fight over that, but at the end my parents won the fight so I guess that means that I have to get ready to move to America.

3: Me and My Dad | Me and My Mom

4: March 16th, 1907 Today I was getting ready to move to America. My parents told me that each person was allowed to bring only one bag, so they told me to bring things that were necessary such as toothbrush, toothpaste, clothes, shoes, and other things and equipment that we had to use when we got to America. I secretly brought things that weren’t necessary but the things that were special to me, such as my 8th birthday gift a pocket watch that my friend Chidi bought me and my 11th birthday gift a wooden African mask. As I got ready for bed, felt worried and sad about going to America. | My one and only suitcase

5: March 17th, 1907 Today my mom, dad, and I woke up at dawn to begin our trip. We packed food that we can throw away so that we didn’t have too much things to carry. As we left our house I took a long last look at our house that I might never see again. Then, we started our trip. By nighttime, we reached the town of Ouagam, Chad. Ougam is located just under Kali, Chad The first day of the journey, we were very tired and we decided to call it a night. | Stuff I brought with me! | Ougam, Chad

6: March 24th, 1907 It has been exactly a week since our family began our trip. We were now used to walking for a long time and walking a long distance. We seem to walk faster and we weren't as tired as the first day of the journey. By now we were at the town of Faya-Largeau so we were about 1/3 of the way there.

7: March 31st, 1907 So it has been two weeks since our family started our journey and I think we were in the habit of waking up in the morning at 5:00 and making two to three, 20 minute breaks, and then walking again until around 12:00 at night. It was a daily routine. We were at Tummu, Libya, a city just above the border of Chad and Niger. Along the way I asked my dad if he could buy me an African toy sculpture as a souvenir but dad said that we had to save our money to buy the tickets to the ship that we were going to ride on. Tonight, my legs were aching as usual and I was drowsy. I fell right asleep as soon as I rested on the ground. | Flag of Libya

8: April 7th, 1907 We reached the town of Waddan. Wadden is about 250 km south of Sirte, our destination. My parents told me that we would be at the Gulf of Sirte in about three more days. I was happy to hear that news because three weeks of just walking made my legs sore. My parents encouraging me not to give up because we were almost there, after we go to Sirte, the boat will bring us to Ellis island. I hope that what they said was true and is going to happen. | Waddan, Libya

9: April 10th, 1907 We finally reached the Gulf of Sirte! On the dock we paid our tickets to board on the S.S Libya. The tickets each cost about 2500 CFA Franc BCEAO ( Chad currency). In total it cost about 7500 CFA Franc BCEAO. As we boarded the sip I finally thought to my self, ‘I dont’t have to walk anymore!’ I was a little homesick but I got over it after I imagined about the new life I was going to live in America. | Tickets CFA Franc BCEAO

10: April 15, 1907 The captain of the ship said that in about two days we will arrive to Ellis Island. Five straight days in the ship made me almost throw up. I almost was seasick. We passed the Mediterranean Sea and was in the North Atlantic Ocean. I just said to myself, ‘Just two more days until arrival’.

11: Captain of the ship | The Ship I rode on

12: April 17th, 1907 In the morning, my dad shook me and woke me up in an enthusiastic and joyful voice. He said, “Look”, as he pointed at a building, “ It’s the Statue of Liberty!” I jumped up and looked, and sure enough there was the Statue of Liberty. In a distance I could see an tiny island and saw lots of people lined up to a building. My parents told me that it was the immigration building and that was where we were heading to. When we our boat came to a stop near the dock, my parents told me to get my one bag and hurry up and come outside. We were in a line that was really long. In fact it was so long that our family had to wait outside for couple of hours. It was chilly outside because New York weather was a lot different than Africa’s weather even though it was spring. When we finally came inside the building there was a long staircase that led to the Great Hall. We saw some people have a hard time walking up the stairs and those people were told to go back to where they came from because they might have a problem or an infection on their legs that they might spread.


14: I heard roomers that today was one of the busiest day in Ellis Island. That was bad news, because that meant more waiting. When we finally arrived to the Great Hall, we there were lots of people, thousands and thousands of them. We had to wait until we were told to do something. | Great Hall

15: Later on doctors made us come with them to be inspected. They checked to see if we had any sicknesses or had weird infections. They even checked our eyes to see if there was anything wrong with it. Next we had to follow a professor and we were tested on our English, to see if my English was fluent. Finally when my parents were also checked we were so happy to hear that everything was alright with us. So we went to the Kissing Post where we collected our bags and went to exchange our CFA franc BCEAO into U.S dollars. We finally boarded on a ship that brought us to New York. This was the day we came to America, the country of hope.

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  • Title: Joseph~Immigration Project
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  • Published: almost 8 years ago