My name is Canan. I was born in Sivas, and grew up in Istanbul, Turkey. I have one younger sister and one older brother. I have lived in Chicago for 18 years. My father deserted us while we were children saying that he was going to France to make a living. My mother worked for us but it was not enough. Economic condition of my family was not good and I had to work. I couldn’t get formal education and I had to get distance education. I started to work in a factory while I was 14. When I worked, my brother was living in the US. Even though my brother had worked since his childhood, he could go to school. After he graduated from university, he moved to Chicago as a student. By the way, my uncle was in Chicago too. He came in 1989 as a refugee by ship. In the end, my family – my mother, my uncle, my brother- decided to send me to the U.S for a better future. I did not have a word to say since I was too young. After all, they thought about me and decided in the name of me.  Even so, I did not want to come to the U.S, my family did. I got my visa too fast, in 3 weeks. I could not spend time with any of my beloved ones, and had to come here.

Firstly, I came as a student and stayed with my brother who was working with my uncle. I and my brother lived together for 2 years. I couldn’t start school immediately after I came here because of the rule dictating that you should go to a private school or course if you want to stay here with a student visa. Even though I was supposed to go to school, my family couldn’t afford to send me to a private school since it was too expensive. Therefore, I became a refugee. I did know nothing. At that time, internet was not easily accessible and I was too young. I just had to wait for their decision. Finally, 6 months later, I went to a community college; 18 months later, I started working and left my brother. In 2 years after I arrived in Chicago, I tried to do something for my life. While I continued my school, I got a promotion from my job, and decided to drop out of school. You can understand me; I needed money, and I didn’t want to do anything other than making money. I thought that if I earn money, I can both send some of it to my family and have a more comfortable life. I worked for 70/80 hours a week, and made 400 dollars a week. Meanwhile, I had to pay 700 dollars for rent. I sent 300 dollars a month to my family, who lived in Turkey.

In 2001, I met Baris who would be my husband in the near future. Initially, we were close friends and, after 4 years, we began a relationship. I received a proposal from him on my birthday in 2007 and we got engaged. One year later, we got married in 2008. 2 years later, in 2010, when I learned that I was pregnant, I was over the moon. I thought that everything would be better. However, I suddenly learned that I had cancer while I was expecting my baby…

To be continued…  


Önceki İçerikImmigrant Health in the Context of Basic Human Rights
Sonraki İçerikCanan II
Sumeyye Acikgoz
Sumeyye Acikgoz graduated Masters degree in NGO and Social Responsibility Management from Istanbul University with her master project about Turkey, Health NGOs in Volunteering and Volunteer Management in 2017 and also, she graduated with a masters degree in Sociology from Istanbul Commerce University with her master thesis on Spatial Cluster Dynamics of Irregular Migrants In Metropolitan Cities: Example of Afghan Refugees In Beykoz-Yenimahalle in 2018. She worked on a lot of projects as a writer, coordinator, and team member. She worked all refugee camps and migration foundations as a volunteer in Turkey. She lived in the US and got research techniques about migration studies in 2018. Also, she worked in the Heartland Alliance as a volunteer interpreter with migrant people. She has written about irregular migrants at different web sites and magazines. She has a consultant company which is the name Seena Project Consultancy. She founded this website in 2019. Currently, she is studying for a Ph.D. program on political science at Medeniyet University.