How I Came to this Country and My Hopes for the
by Zebun Nisa
My name is Zebun Nisa and I am from Pakistan.
I have seven children, ages 25, 24, 22, 18, 17, 14, and 12. Two months
ago, my four youngest children came with me to the United States, where
we were reunited with my husband. Before he moved to the United States,
my husband worked with a shipping company. He now drives a taxi cab at
When my husband first came to the United States, he had a mishap. He
lost his passport and had a great deal of difficulty getting a new one.
He had to request new papers from the embassy in New York and it took
many months to get a new visa and a green card. Once he finally was able
to get a green card, he sponsored our family into the United States. All
this took three years. It was a very difficult time for our family. Two
of our children could not join us in the United States because they are
older than eighteen years of age and are therefore considered to be adults.
I think about my family often, both the family members who are with me
and the ones that I left behind in Pakistan. I would like someday for
my oldest son to come to the United States and work with my husband. I
would like for them to make a good living working in a good job.
I would also like to have a job. I am Muslim. We do not believe that
women should take jobs in offices and stores. My husband does not want
me to work outside the home. He would like for me to take jobs that I
can do in our house. For example, I could baby-sit for other people's
children in my home.
I would like to learn how to speak English better. Right now it is difficult
for me to explain things to other people because I do not know many words.
I think that when I learn how to speak English I will feel more comfortable
in this country.
My four youngest children are all students. I would like for my children
to learn all their subjects well and continue their studies. I want my
two youngest sons to become engineers or doctors and I hope that they
respect my wishes. My older children attend the university in Pakistan.
One is studying engineering while another is taking computer courses.
I hope the four children who have come with me continue to live in the
United States because here they will get a good education, find good jobs,
and they will also be near me.
Another dream I have is for my family to own a big house. When I used
to live in the Modeltown area of Lahore, Pakistan, we had a large house
with a beautiful garden and two big lawns, front and back. Ours was a
two-story home made out of tile and cement, with beautiful decorations
and furniture inside. We had many flowers and other kinds of plants in
our garden. I loved to care for our plants and work on the lawn. I like
plants, especially roses and money plants. The money plant is a kind of
vine that grows up walls.
If I could change one thing in my neighborhood, I would like for us to
be able to talk to one another more often. Most of my neighbors speak
Spanish and I don't know how to speak Spanish. Ours is the only Pakistani
family in the neighborhood. This is why I don't often talk with the people
who live around me. After I've lived here for a long time, I hope that
I will be able to speak English well so that I can talk to other people.
I might even learn other languages.
Most of my family still lives in Pakistan. My mother and my mother-in-law
are very old and sick and I want to see them again. When my four youngest
children are settled in the United States I will go back to visit the
rest of my family in Pakistan.
Last Updated By Gail Matthews-DeNatale: 10/08/96