My name is Fodé Kourouma and I’m originally from Guinea, West Africa—from the capital city Conakry to be exact. My aunt, who was my guardian, brought me to the United States when I was about 10 years old. I grew up in West Haven, Connecticut. When I got there I didn’t know even a single word of English. I took English classes for speakers of another language and that helped me.
I’m 25 now and I want to be a citizen because if you are a citizen you get an American passport and you can travel anywhere in the world. I want to be able to go back and forth to Guinea to visit my father there. I have some family in New Jersey, Connecticut, New York and Chicago. But I also have a lot of family back in Guinea. A lot! It’s a big family because my grandfather had four wives.
Right now I work as a CNA, a certified nursing assistant, with WWII veterans who have dementia. But I’m also in school and I’m about to earn my criminal justice degree. My father is in that field back in Guinea, and I want to get my start in that field too. I would like to be a parole officer or maybe a probation officer.
Living in America I learned that if you put your mind to it you can accomplish a lot. You just have to put all your work in and then the outcome will hopefully be great for you. It’s really the land of freedom and citizenship is the passport to go anywhere.