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As an immigrant from Nigeria, I know exactly what many of Daily Work’s job seekers are going through. As someone who has been in their position, I am grateful to all the people that helped me find success in America. My goal is to use what I am learning here to make things better for the people in Nigeria. Places like Daily Work are making it possible for me and other immigrants to make a better world, both here and in our home countries. People like you, who support Daily Work, are making this possible. Here is how my new beginning came to be.

I grew up with seven brothers and sisters; I am the seventh child. Growing up in Nigeria was very challenging one for both me and my siblings because of our economic status, which I would describe as poverty.

Things became even more difficult when our beloved father passed away. Now my mother was the lone provider for eight children. She struggled every day to ensure we had enough to eat, but at the same time she made school our first priority and pushed us to graduate from high school. After high school, I struggled to get admission into college to major in industrial microbiology… after seeking admission for four years, it finally came to be.

My mother and elder siblings worked very hard to ensure that I had enough money to pay my college tuition fees, but we also had to go plead for help, which some relatives were kind enough to render. But things were about to change…during my third year at university, I won the U.S. “green card” lottery. I loved my school but it was strain on my family looking for money every year for my fees. Thus, I was excited that I would relieve my family from that burden and that is how I came to live in the United States.

Coming to the United States in 2009 alone, and at just 24 years old was very different for me. I came from a big family; there was always somebody with me. Even when I was at University, my cousin was with me. But America was not what I had imagined; it was more difficult than I had anticipated.

Living with friends was difficult because I felt so much pressure to get a job and earn money so that I could contribute to their household expenses. I also felt pressure to send money home to my family in Nigeria. But of course, it’s hard for new immigrants to get a job right away. I cried endlessly each day and each time I called my mother she would cry and ask me to come back to Nigeria…to my home and my big family.

But I knew I could not give up; I knew it was better for me to try and fail than for me to fail to try. I strived for a better tomorrow even when I was almost homeless. I was still striving for strength to carry on. I looked for a job tirelessly, but to no avail, even after being trained as certified nursing assistant (CNA).

But finally, my luck decided to shine. I was waiting for the bus when I overheard two people talking about CNA jobs. I approached them politely and they gave me the name and location of the place that was hiring. I applied for the job and they called me the next day for an interview. They offered me a full time position! My new job enabled me to get my own apartment with my first paycheck. This is what I consider my new beginning as an independent immigrant.

MaryannWritten by Maryann Chidi - Ohammah, social work major at Metropolitan State University and case management intern at Daily Work.

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