Interview for

Haresu Tekle

7/1/2019

Interviewed By:

Amna Amin

Date Interviewed:

Audio Recording of Interview
00:00 / 59:43
Summary

Haresu Tekle speaks of her experience as a refugee both from Eritrea to Ethiopia and then resettling from Ethiopia to Salt Lake City, Utah, where she faced sexual harassment and intimidation from a member of her church. Haresu talks about the difficulties of being resettled to an unsafe environment, including her struggles with disability and government resources.

Transcript
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Additional Notes
Outline

Narrator: Haresu Tekle

Date: 7/20/2019

Location: Charlotte, North Carolina


Content Warning: Sexual violence, physical assault

Summary: Haresu Tekle, a refugee from Eritrea, describes her experience coming to the United States and searching for a new home for her and her son

Topics: Life back home, Cultural Adjustment, Faith


Outline

Section 1: (00:00-11:35)

  • Childhood - Grew up in Eritrea; left with her son because she did not want to serve in the military and there were no economic opportunities; she relocated to an Eritrean refugee camp in Ethiopia

  • Employment/Service - Had a nice job in the Eritrean refugee camp raising awareness for immunization and disease prevention; felt good to help people and work in community

  • Immigration Process - the United States government helped resettle single people with chronic illnesses, so she had the opportunity to come to the US

Section 2: (11:38-20:21)

  • Immigration Process - US government paid for their immigration and offered her a home; moved to Salt Lake City and appreciated the simplicity of the city; received benefits which helped her adjust

  • Cultural Adjustment - attended ESL classes and really enjoyed it; was in a class with other refugees and made friends; used her benefits to get settled in Utah; her son went to school; she liked how easy it was to get around the city

  • Employment/Service - a Catholic community service provided her a home and helped her before she arrived

Section 3: (20:25 - 48:18)

  • Cultural Adjustment - struggled to get an entry level job because of her physical disability; joined a Church that was supposed to help her with economic training and the job search

  • Trauma - the Church offered free rides every Sunday, and someone’s husband became interested in her; wants to see her even though she refuses so she creates an excuse to not attend the Church; this man decides to sexually assault her and his relatives want to kill her because he's interested in her; he won't relent, so she doesn't return to the Church and decides to leave Utah

Section 4: (48:21-56:40)

  • Immigration process - decides to move to Charlotte; benefits there are not as helpful as in Utah, and she struggles to survive; thinks about returning to Salt Lake City

  • Religion - was assisted by an Islamic relief organization; reflects on an experience in Ethiopia of being helped by someone of Islamic faith; had a scary dream before coming to the US, and the man interpreted it for her; expresses her appreciation for Muslim society

Section 5: (56:43 - 59:44)

  • Religion - reflects on the shared connection between Muslims and Christians; humanity means we help one another; says kindness is what gives humans value before God