In the past 9 years, the number of students from Africa who are attending Blair High School has increased a lot. According to school studies, in 1993 35% of all the students at Blair were foreign students. Of those foreign students, only 7% were Africans. However this year 30% of the Blair students are foreign students. Of those 30%, 22% are from Africa.
The countries of Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Chad, Togo, Guinea, and Nigeria have the largest numbers of students. The students' families have come for different reasons. Some came because of a crisis or bad economic situations. Some came because of war that killed many in their countries. Some came with dreams of the opportunities in this country. Some came to reunite with their loved ones.
Countries like Liberia, Sierra Leone and Ethiopia face crisis through wars. Many escaped to different countries and found their way to the U.S. "Some young people left Ethiopia because they did not want to go to war," Tizeta Girma, a senior said. "My friend was forced to go to war and he never came back again." She doesn't know if she'll ever see him again.
Hannah Foday, a sophomore from Sierra Leone, said that many Sierra Leoneans, herself included, came to the U.S. because of the war. Many suffered in Sierra Leone because of the fighting.
Countries like Ghana, Nigeria, and Cameroon are facing economic situations that are not good. Some countries are not developing enough. Some students believe that people in their countries deserve better but government leaders are not doing things to help the people. Anita Adomako, a senior from Ghana said, "The countries could be better and well developed if the leaders were kind enough to pardon their people. They took all the possessions and never returned them to the people." Anita believes that powerful and cruel people left the countries undeveloped for their children.
But when they left Africa, some students did not look back as much as they looked ahead. "My uncle brought me and my brother to further our education. Since Blair is the nearest school and the most diverse school, my family decided I should come to Blair," Anita said.
But one of the strongest reasons for many students to come to the U.S. is to be reunited with brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers. Senait, a senior from Ethiopia said, " I came to the U.S to join my family."
One thing that many African students feel strongly about is, why they came will not keep them from some day returning to their motherland.
Copyright Silver International Newspaper 2002 (This page was created by Fortune DJenonyombaye.)