Ali Adil Banay
Audio Recording of Interview
Originally from Sudan, Ali Adil Banay lived as a refugee in Turkey and Ethiopia due to the conflict in his home country, and faced difficulties as one of only three members of his tribe in the camp. He discusses his journey to the US and the process of finding community in Clarkston, Georgia, where, although the Muslim experience is not the same as it was in Sudan, he has found a new home among the larger immigrant community.
Other interviews of this person can be found below:
Narrator: Ali Adil Banay
Location: Clarkston, George
Summary: Originally from Sudan, Ali Adil Banay lived as a refugee in Turkey and Ethiopia due to the conflict in his home country, and faced difficulties as one of only three members of his tribe in the camp. He discusses his journey to the US and the process of finding community in Clarkston, Georgia, where, although the Muslim experience is not the same as it was in Sudan, he has found a new home among the larger immigrant community.
Topics: Multiple Displacements, Culture, Education, Immigration Process, Diversity, Friendship, Refugee, Personal Finance, Family, Instability, Education, Community, Employment
Section One (0:00-9:37)
Multiple Displacements - Ali moved from Sudan to Turkey to Ethiopia (where he lived for fifteen years) and finally to the US in May 2017. He has lived in refugee camps for half his life. Due to conflict between South and North Sudanese people, he was moved to the camp in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.
Culture, Family - Only three people in the camp were from his tribe. His tribe is Muslim and nomadic, with half in Eritrea and half in Sudan. His mother is Egyptian. His father was a sheikh and a Sufi, and did not come with them. Ali recalls nuba, people coming to his house and dancing together. He has two brothers (16 and 12 years of age) and a sister (20).
Education - He did well in school but is struggling now. As the oldest of his siblings, he was busy taking care of their sick mother.
Immigration Process - It was difficult to get to the US because Sudan was one of seven countries on Trump’s travel ban. They were given a two days' notice. Many of his friends had to stay back and Ali cried with them.
Diversity - In the plane and the camp, there were refugees from all over the world.
Section Two (9:29-19:53)
Cultural Adjustment - They flew from Ethiopia to Dubai to New York to Atlanta. Ali fell asleep in the plane and got lost, but a caseworker and another Ethiopian refugee identified him by his tag and helped him.
Cultural Adjustment, Friendship - They moved into a townhome. Tired and worried about getting lost, he would go for short walks. One day he came across some Syrian people speaking Arabic and befriended them. He can easily tell people of different ethnicities apart now. In the beginning, his family yelled at one another a lot and struggled to deal with his mother’s illness. His siblings cried going to school. Now they don’t want to go back home.
Cultural Adjustment - Ali notes how you run into people a lot more often back home but in the US, everyone is busy with work.
Employment - Employed by Decatur City Church, Ali works at Refugee Coffee, which he enjoys. He and other refugees and immigrants are provided one year job training and English classes.
Community - There used to be a Sudanese community in the area but not anymore. Ali believes it is due to fighting between people of different tribes.
Section Three (20:09-30:08)
Diversity, Friendship - He has made friends from different countries but no best friend yet.
Cultural Adjustment, Personal Finance, Family - People from Sudan bother Ali for money and feel betrayed when he refuses, unaware that there are far more expenses here like taxes.
Instability - There was a curfew in Ethiopia and they were cut off from the Internet.
Cultural Adjustment, Diversity - He likes Clarkston because there are many immigrants, with whom it’s easier to communicate because English is their second language too. He wants to stay there forever.
Section Four (30:09-39:19)
Education - He wants to go back to school and become a nurse.
Cultural Adjustment, Community - He says that celebrating Eid here is not like back home. He mentions a Moroccan neighbor he befriended who has a Sudanese husband. He remarks on how people from the same country become closer in America than they would back home. There are two mosques in Clarkston.