This I Believe

Jaafar - Spotsylvania, Virginia
Entered on February 11, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I once walked the streets of Manhattan, New York. I witnessed men begging with cups, and as I tilted my head up and saw the large skyscrapers filled with the rich men and women, I thought that one of them was probably just closing a deal for a million dollars. My eyes perceived two very different worlds where the homeless man sits just outside the world of the rich. I wondered if the homeless man was determined, could he pull himself out of despair? Then, I thought of my father.

My father, Nather Ansari, was born in Baghdad, Iraq, and escaped Desert Storm in 1991 with his wife and two year old daughter. He fought his way through the Middle East to finally find a safe haven in Sweden where I came into play in the Ansari story, a story of a determined man who never gave up hope and reached his final destination, the United States of America.

Some immigrants that come to the U.S end up living the rest of their lives miserably. But my father had one of those different minds, a mind that was and still is filled with nothing but determination. Every morning when he dressed himself in his medical coat to begin his long trek to the hospital where he was finishing up his residency school to be an internist, he looked at my sister and me smiling at him, and he kept in mind that this difficult struggle was for the two smiles that he definitely was not going to loose.

But once at work, life was very different for him. As he grew to know his colleagues, he realized their conditions were much better than his. One of the many problems that my dad had to deal with was the difficulty of communication resulting in harsh comments that were thrown at him. But my father’s eyes and ears replaced all the bad moments with the sight of his desired future. One of my father’s adages is “the reason we have two ears is to let all come in one ear, and let the bad exit out the other.”

My father eventually moved to Spotsylvania, Virginia where he resides as one of the most respected doctors in the area. I still want to understand why my father was able to make it to the top while going to school during a physical war in Iraq and an emotional one in the US, but some students in America complain that high school is too hard. Determination. A fact is that he would never have become what he is now without the push harbored inside himself, and without the love of his family.

My sister, born in Iraq followed my father’s ideas, she believes that if she does not become and achieve the best; my father’s time bringing all of us here to America would be wasted. She is now a senior in high school, valedictorian, and accepted to Harvard University. Her success proves that we can be anything if we pursue it in a determined manner.

Anything is possible in America. Life may decide for you instead of you deciding your future without your determination. My father and sister are proof this idea and now, it’s my turn.