THE AYELE FAMILY
Nominating Organization: African Services Committee
My name is Selegen Ayele. I was born and raised in central Ethiopia in the Horn of Africa. I came to the United States in 2009 with my oldest son Miky who is now sixteen. I worked in Ethiopia as a truck driver where I earned about 210 Birr per day, which is $10.00. And, while I was fortunate and earned more than most Ethiopians, I couldn’t provide many opportunities to my children. I was very worried that in twenty years my children would have no choice but to attempt to cross into the Middle East or Europe in unsafe boats in search of work like thousands of my fellow countrymen do each year.
I love my country and I will always be Ethiopian. But, it was an easy decision to relocate to the United States because I knew that any hardships would be outweighed by the futures available to my family in the U.S.
I left Ethiopia when my youngest son Yanet was only three months and my daughter Selamawit was only 3 years old. My wife Meseret is the bravest person I know because she suddenly became the sole caregiver to a newborn and a young child. Because seven-thousand miles separate us, I missed Yanet’s first steps and his first words. I missed Selamawit’s first day of school. Of course, I speak with my children and Meseret often, but it is no substitute for seeing and holding them.
I feel like half of my heart is in Ethiopia and half of my heart is in the United States. My wife and children are now able to join me in the U.S. and after six years of living apart, my heart will be whole again. I am very excited for my children to attend school, for my family to attend Miky’s basketball games, and to just be together.
I work as a limousine driver in New York City. I don’t earn much, and what I do earn is sent to my wife and two youngest children in Ethiopia. Fortunately, my mother lives in the U.S. (Miky and I live with her), and she works two jobs in hotel laundry rooms to support herself and us. She has made many, many sacrifices for my family and me.
Because I am a low-income earner, I cannot afford to purchase the plane tickets needed for my family to live together in the United States. My mother can’t afford to pay for the tickets, either.
I hope that you can support us and reunite my family.
10/2/15: WE ARE RAISING $3,000 TO BRING MESERET AND HER TWO CHILDREN, SELAMAWIT AND YANET, TO THE UNITED STATED TO BE REUNITED WITH HER HUSBAND AND SON.