In New York, With 6 Weeks to Adapt to America

Todd Heisler/The New York Times

ANOTHER TRIP Mamadou Diallo, center, flanked by his siblings, heading to the Refugee Summer Youth Academy. More Photos »

By
Published: August 25, 2012

TWENTY-FOUR days after he arrived in the United States, Mamadou Fadja Diallo, 13, showed up for summer school in Manhattan looking wary and confused. The building itself was disorienting: big and imposing, with polished floors, nothing like his school back home in Guinea. He was surrounded by students from all over the world. He could not understand a word anyone was saying.

In June, he had left his home in the West African nation with his mother and 12 siblings. The family drove to the airport and flew to New York. None of the children had been on a plane before, and only one could speak any English. They were met by their father, Abdoulaye Diallo, a Muslim imam who had fled Guinea in 2007 and sought asylum in the United States after becoming entangled in his nation’s volatile and violent politics.
 
Read more…  Article provided by Shirin Herman.
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