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(1/3)  “My father was working on a construction site and a piece…

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(1/3)  “My father was working on a construction site and a piece of iron fell on him.  He lived for a few more days, and right before he died, he said: ‘Don’t worry.  You are a man.  You are strong.’  But I was only eleven.   At the time I was taking my entrance exams for middle school.  I had three younger siblings, and my mother couldn’t support us on her own.  She tried.  She’d spend all day on the sewing machine.  But it wasn’t enough.  Our town in Egypt is famous for linen, so I started working in a factory at the age of twelve.  My mother begged me not to work.  She’d fight with my bosses.  She even told me that I didn’t love her because I wouldn’t go to school.  But I had no choice.  All the money I made, I gave to my mother.  She’s like a goddess to me.  But she always found ways to give it back.  She’d sneak it into my lunchbox.  She’d buy me things.  And she wasn’t working any less.  So after a couple years I decided it would be best to leave.  One morning I was in a café and overheard a group of men talking about immigrating to Europe.  I told them I wanted to come.  I lied to them.  I told them that I didn’t have a family and I was all alone.”
(Rome, Italy)



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