Musu Welwolie – Liberia

Musu was born in Liberia. Because of war in her country, she and her family fled the country in 1993 and traveled to Ivory Coast. They remained there until 1998. Musu left Ivory Coast for America in 1999. She remembers the long painful journey from Liberia to Ivory Coast and the loss of family and friends along the way. Her journey to America brought other kinds of issues. Afraid of flying, she cried the entire way. Arriving at the Cleveland Airport dressed in summer clothing and seeing lots of snow, she turned to her brother and said “We are going to die.”

Since English was Musu’s primary language in Liberia, the results of her placement test at a Cleveland school allowed her to be placed into the 7th grade which was appropriate for her age. Musu also attributes her schooling at the refugee camp in Ivory Coast for preparing her for 7th grade. Although she made the adjustment to American schools, she missed her school back home where she was involved in soccer, the cultural dance team, and she had many friends.

As a college student in America, Musu started out in pre-med but changed her major to sociology.  She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 2009.  Her goal is to return to Liberia and become involved in creating change to ensure that all girls have an opportunity to receive an education. Musu is very proud of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberia’s first woman president, and refers to her as a wonderful role model for girls.

Closer to home, Musu talks about the strength and determination of her own mother and her dedication to helping family in America and Liberia One day Musu wants to build a big house in Liberia for her mother where all of her family could live. Family closeness is important to Musu. When a family member in any part of the country needs help, all family members come together to offer assistance.

Musu loves America and became a naturalized citizen in 2000. But yet she feels she cannot be totally happy in this country. She expresses this by saying “I could be happy…if my entire family from Africa were her.  One minute I feel like I am happy and then I get a phone call and hear that someone died and I wanted to go back to see them. So I can’t by fully happy.  I miss my uncle who died last June and my niece who got hit by a car and I did not get to see her.  That part gets me crying.”

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