By Reyan N.
Grade 4, Tennessee
Country of Origin: Zambia

My grandfather came from Zambia, Africa. In 1976 he came to America. Prior to Zambia he lived in India. When he immigrated he became a great buissness man. I call him “Bapa”. Last night I had to interview my Bapa shared his immigration experience over the phone because he is in India for 2 months. He is an amazing man.

Reyan: “Why did you come to America?”

Bapa: “Because education and safety in Zambia, Africa was getting bad. I needed to make a change for my family.”

Reyan: “Tell me about Zambia”

Bapa: “ It was owned by the British and in 1964 Zambia became independent. After about 4 years, they said only Zambians could own businesses (retail store, grocery store). We could only do wholesale business, so my family went into that business. “

Reyan: “What was the hardest part about leaving Zambia?”

Bapa: “Leaving the lifestyle of the country and my friends”

Reyan: “What was your most prized possession?”

Bapa: “Family photos, gold but most of all the friends we left
behind was the most important to me”

Reyan: “Tell me about the day you left”

Bapa: “ Just packing for many days, had to travel by car to a big
city to catch a flight to London. In London, was very
excited because I got to see my son (My dad) who was in
boarding school at that time. We stayed there for 4 weeks
and then came to America.”

Reyan: “Did you know anybody in America before you came?”

Bapa: “ Yes, my sister and brother-in-law. They were in Texas.”

Reyan: “What was the most challenging thing to do in America?”

Bapa: “Looking for a job and the language was just a little difficult. Driving was on different side of the road and the steering wheel is on the right side!”

Reyan: “What was the trip to America like?”

Bapa: “It was not to bad, but very long journey. We were very nervous not knowing what it would be like.”

Reyan: “Are you glad you came to America?”

Bapa: “In the beginning, I was very homesick and wanted to go back. But I knew that I needed to stay for the sake of my family. Many more opportunities here in America and I knew my children would have a better life here.”

Reyan: “ How much money did you come with and what were your plans on how to make more?”

Bapa: “I came with $10,000.00. I also bought a brand new car for $3,600.00. My idea was to buy a business to call my own. Traveled many places around the States and finally got an opportunity to buy a motel in East Ridge, TN in 1978. My business has grown and done well since then.

I learned a lot about my Bapa. Now that he is in America he is a great buissness man. He is a great and nice man.

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