Istina Tsoukou Mbaya

I am from Congo, Brazzaville. I want to share my American story. I left my country because I was not safe anymore and my family too; so we took different ways, me moving abroad and them to another part of Brazzaville town. I felt stressed and bad because I was leaving my family for a long time. I knew that I was going to NYC but I did not know what to do and what was happening. I was with some members of my family (aunt, cousins).  We were waiting for the flight time and the airport traffic was busy, a lot of people were coming back from vacation.


When I got on in the plane to make this long trip; I was so sad and confused. The next day, I arrived in New York City, everything changed in my life and everything was new. This was November 27, Thanksgiving, the day of turkey soup.  It was an amazing and wonderful day. After a few days, I started to find out more about my situation. I met some African people who advised me but I continued my research and discovered Bellevue NYU program for survivors. I was living in the Bronx but my life was so hard and unbelievable. In December, I went to Atlanta to my friend because it is difficult to live in NYC if you don’t have family. NYC is a big and beautiful city and amazing like we saw on the TV show, but the reality is very different. It is the opposite .People think that America is paradise but it is not.  I was running everyday trying to get a good life. I lived many difficulties but I kept faith and believed in my dreams and in what I want for my life.


Try to be strong, not stressed, fight for success and your big challenge. I just tell people to be strong because it is very hard when you just come in a new country where you don't know anything about the culture and the system.


ALL Stories