Monday, March 03, 2008


My Name is Okeya Badalamay. I’m from Africa. I moved here to the states because my family was in danger of being killed. I moved here when I was 15.

My life wasn’t great like most girls. When I was 10 worked in the mines searching for diamonds, gems, any type of precious material. That would be valuable.
My father was on bed rest because of an accident that happened when he tried to save his friends from military guerillas of the congo.

3. WHAT KINDS OF CHALLENGES DO YOU THINK WOMEN FACE IN SOCIETY? Being excepted, think.(She laughs) Bryant: Question, how do you think its funny? Okeya: I am black, I am African. Bryant: but, Okeya: but I’m looked at as different then everybody else. Just because I’m from a different country and my skin is a little darker then other people. I get looked at differently why is that. Bryant: well I don’t know some people are just too ignorant for their own good.

4. HAVE YOU FACED ANY CHALLENGES AS A WOMAN? Okeya: Yes or course the transition form my country to the united state was the biggest jump I ever made in my life. I mean I was scared to death to come here. Bryant: And why is that. Okeya: Because my hardest challenge is over coming change. I mean its so much freedom here in the states then it was in Africa. I’m not around my friends from backing my country. Bryant: but there are some students that speak you language right. Okeya: Yes or course but I don’t know them we don’t relate because I’m from a different part of Africa that’s dangerous. Bryant: So where are you from. Okeya: Bamaba it’s a territory of the Congo.

5. WHAT BIG EXPERIENCES HAVE YOU SURVIVED AS A WOMAN? When I was a little girl I was abused and molested. Bryant: Wow…not raped right? Okeya: no not raped but just taken advantage of, Hey lets come back to that subject it a sensitive area. Bryant: Yeah I’m sorry. Okeya: its ok, we can come back to it.

6. WHAT WAS YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE GROWING UP IN YOUR FAMILY? In my family I had to work at a young age to help out with the family. And because of that I missed out on my early youth. Bryant: so what type of jobs did you do. Okeya: clean houses, anything that needed to be done. Till I was forced to work in a minery.


10. DO YOU THINK THAT WOMEN ARE SEEN IN THE SAME LIGHT AS MEN? AND COULD YOU SHARE SOME EXAMPLES? Okeya: I don’t think so, in myc ountry women are beaten, raped sometimes maybe even killed, just to prove a point, and in the American states to, women are not respected, they call names,disrespected, down sized and humilliated by dominant male figures. I don’t understand that why is it such a big deal it a women is a little dominate, it seems like you males, Bryant: Hey watch it now. Okeya: (Laughs)…I’m joking but males seem to get intimidated when a women wants be a Ceo or a, president. Bryant: Well to plea my case I think women with power and a voice are elegant and attractive, I mean it’s the way of life a few words of wisdom ”keep on keeping on” Okeya: Yeah.

8.(IF OLDER) COULD YOU SHARE SOME DIFFERENCES YOU SEE GENERATIONS? Okeya: yeah I’ve seen a lot of deaths in my country. The deaths were too make other out as an example. If you were to cross a guerrilla controlled area in the Congo, and if you were asked to give up your valuable you’d better do it, because you can be killed. So sometimes while driving even near the Congo you’d see dead bodies once in a while. Bryant:

9. IN YOUR OPINION, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE FINANCIAL CHALLENGES THAT WOMEN FACE? I can’t speak of American women but I can speak for the women in my country. All the jobs don’t pay very much so there is no chance to really grow and become someone.

10. HAVE YOU HAD ANY FINANCIAL CHALLENGES SPECIFICALLY AS A WOMAN? Not in America only in my country, my family was poor very poor.

12. DID FAMILY MEMBER OR FRIENDS (OTHER PEOPLE – JOBS) TREAT YOU DIFFERENTLY BECAUSE YOU WERE A WOMAN? Leaving my family especially me father I think he needs me the most but I know me being here will better help my family

13. WHAT KIND OF SACRIFICES HAVE YOU MADE AS A WOMAN? ? Leaving my family especially me father I think he needs me the most but I know me being here will better help my family

14. WHY DID YOU CHANGE COUNTRIES? HOW DID IT AFFECT YOUR LIFE AS A WOMAN? I changed country because it’s freer here in the states. It’s a chance to earn money and be free. This was the feeling I couldn’t get back home. If I stayed I probably will work my whole life either not a penny to show for it. So when I worked little by little I managed to save up. And with a little help from my close friends I saved up ten thousand dollars “US Currency”. Bryant: so how did this transaction affect you. Okeya: I hit me hard when I slept my first night without my family. I think I cried for about four months. Bryant: Wow!!!...Was it that bad. Okeya: yeah it was I hated being away from my family but I know that this will only make me stronger. So as the days go by I’m getting stronger and stronger. And the fact I’m doing this for my family makes me feel even better when I get down about not being with my family.

15. WHAT WAS YOUR GOAL MOVING FROM YOUR COUNTRY TO ANOTHER? To become successful. Get a degree and move my whole family to a better place in Africa or move everybody here. Bryant: why here why not Africa. Okeya: I won’t to move them to a better place in Africa, but it so much violence that is unbearable. I love it here in Santa Barbara it’s so peaceful and their are no mines here.

16. AS A WOMAN, WHAT DID IT MEAN TO CHANGE COUNTRIES? A chance to pursue a better live. To start over and make a better life for me and for my family.

17. HOW DOES YOUR ETHNIC BACKGROUND INFLUENCE YOUR LIFE AS A WOMAN? It makes me stronger because coming where I’m from its hard to look back and want to go back to my country. I came to America dead poor and I ended up in college

19. IN YOUR COUNTRY, HOW DO THEY VIEW WOMEN? Women were only good for a few things in my countries, work, cooking and carrying a child. Women are harshly down sized in my country. Women would get beat, raped. It was expected for a women to stay in a women’s place, ”what ever that means”

20. WHAT IS THE ATTITUDE TO WOMEN IN YOUR ETHNIC BACKGROUND? Women were mostly afraid to speak up and defend themselves. see because in the congo, unlike the United States. we diddnt have any type of law enforecement to protect use from the rapings.

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At 8:41 AM, Blogger riseabove88 said...

it is crazy to hear how things are so bad else where. it makes you feel bad about complaining about how hard you have it because as it seems someone alway has it worst. Its also good to see that someone can come here and change there life and make it better.

At 8:44 AM, Blogger Laura said...

I really enjoyed reading about Okeya. I think that she has been through so much in her life and I have so much respect for her because of it. I think it is so sad that she had an abusive life as a child, but that makes her a better person today. I am curious to why she said when she was asked what her biggest struggle in life was, she answered "not having children". I wondered why she felt this way and why she didn't have children if she struggles with that so bad today. I think that Okeya is a very strong willed women who has been through a lot in life which has allowed her to gain wisdom and strength.

At 8:47 AM, Blogger Roxy5689 said...

what an interesting story. it scares me that men in Okeya's country would do that to their women. that's just down right sad

At 8:51 AM, Blogger Isabella Mendes said...

It's terrible to hear that in some countries women are still treated this way. I think Okeya is a really strong woman. She's really brave and courageous, get away from Congo and move to America it's a huge step. It's probably a completely different world SB from Congo. She must be really happy living here, but she shouldn't forget her background and try to fight for the women rights over there.There's a lot that can be done to help other women, and prevent that they don't suffer the way Okeya did.

At 8:51 AM, Blogger weaver said...

This story about Okeya was great. Bryant you did a great job on this ladie. She seems to be a very srong women. She conquered a lot and she was soo brave when she moved to the states and left her country. This ladie went through so much while she was growing up and as a women now, that she is a very admirable person.

At 1:54 PM, Blogger daniel said...

Okeya's story is really interesting. Its amazing how two separate countries can be so much different. I cant even imagine how hard it was for her to move out of Congo and leave her whole family behind. She seems like a good person whose life is only getting better

At 1:55 PM, Blogger Anthony Clark said...

Wow.. An amazing story of a women who came to America to live the american dream. There are very good questions that show how different life can be in another country. Also how life can differ for being an African-American women.


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