American based NPR's ( National Public Radio) producers met and talked with Saraa Zewedi Yilma, an Ethiopian pregnant woman, who is staying La Posada Providencia shelter which helps newly arrived refugees by crossing USA-American border. Saraa told the producers her arduous journeny from Ethiopia to Sudan to Brazil, then through Venezuela, Colombia and beyond. She said she fled Ethiopia due to political reasons and her husband who came along with her is now at the US detention center. Saraa's younger sister lost her life in capsized boat off West Africa, which is one of the sad realities for many refugees including Ethiopians. Here is what Steve Inskeep wrote about the challenges and hardships of immigrants from other countries to make their dreams come true.
You have no idea what some people will do to reach the United States until you hear their stories. I've understood this truth ever since I went to Afghanistan in 2001. A man told me how he left his country without any travel documents and somehow crossed Iran by bus and foot, only to be caught in Turkey and sent back. He didn't give up, and a few years later came to visit me in Washington.
What I didn't clearly understand was how people in troubled nations finally make it here. It turns out that for some people, the key to the journey is the Borderland, the U.S.-Mexico border, which we have traveled this month for NPR.
From Ethiopia to Sudan, Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico & USA
If you lack a U.S. visa, you can't just board a flight for New York's JFK airport. The worse off your country is, the harder it may be to obtain that visa. American consular officers are likely to suspect, when you're coming from Yemen or Syria carrying everything you own, that your journey is more than a quick tourist trip.
But a network of smugglers can, for a fee, guide people to the airports of Latin America. From there, established land routes lead through Mexico to the US.
La Posada Providencia shelter, an unassuming cluster of buildings near the border in San Benito, Texas, has in the past year received people from about 20 countries, such as Albania, Romania, Nepal, India, and China.
When we visited, we chatted with men from Somalia and Cuba. And we ran into three Ethiopian women who were studying English as a second language, taking a class over a kitchen counter.
They have applied for asylum in the United States, and are allowed to stay at the shelter while the government considers their cases and the stories they have told.
You really need to hear the voice of Saraa Zewedi Yilma, one of the Ethiopian women, who told of her story Thursday on Morning Edition. We're mapping her incredible journey (from Ethiopia to Sudan to Brazil, then through Venezuela, Colombia and beyond) for our upcoming digital feature on Borderland.
For now, listen to that story in her own words. Hers is a soft voice, sometimes hesitant as she struggles to find the language. She is a tiny woman who took an immense journey; and the population of the La Posada shelter suggests her story is not uncommon.
Click here to listen the interview