Nameste! My name is Rabina Phuyel. I am currently living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I am a Sophomore at Baldwin High School. I was born in 1999 in a small country called Nepal, as a refugee. While I was growing up I learned the bitter truth about the adults around me. I learned that they didn’t belong there. They were not meant to be refugees. The Bhutanese government decided to throw all the Nepali people out of their country because of their ethnicity. Every adult lived in the hope that one day the Bhutanese government would take them back, which never happened.
Living in the refugee camp was tough because of the conditions all around us. There was a lack of education, never enough food, and no sense of security. I was born in a family where I had all sisters. In foreign countries they often look down on girls, so I didn’t just have to deal with being a refugee, but also with being looked down upon. Yes, the government would give us food, but it was never enough. The roof would alway leak when it started raining. The houses were made of bamboo so it wasn’t a warm place in the winter. Even though we had a lot of conflicts we were all thankful for what we received. In years of 2007 and 2008 there was a major twist in every Bhutanese refugees’ lives: the United State of America and a few others countries decided to resettle Bhutanese refugees in a new world.
In February of 2009, my family got a letter that we would be flying to Kathmandu, Nepal, to come to United States. On February 9th my family and I got off a plane at the Salt Lake City, Utah airport. America was completely different than I had ever imagined. March 21st was the first day of school for me, at William Penn Elementary School. I was very nervous but also very excited. I was afraid- what if I don’t fit in with anyone? I was the only Nepali student in the school, so I didn’t know who to talk to and how to talk to them.
Life in the States was even harder for the elderly because they had no knowledge of English. At the beginning it felt like it was the wrong decision to come to this new world. The food was different, the religion was different, the people were different- basically everything was different. But there was a sense of freedom, and the thought that I was no longer a refugee excited me. The education was exceedingly better. There was access to almost everything, and for the first time in my life I felt like I could be anything if I worked hard.
In April of 2011, my family decided to move to Pittsburgh because all of our relatives were here. I reunited with my grandparents after three years of separation. It was like the best day of my life. In Pittsburgh, I started as a sixth grader at Harrison Middle School. Currently, I am a sophomore at Baldwin HIgh School. I want to do something great for my community and hope to leave a great legacy behind because I am a girl with dreams.