Portrait of Edo Diabaka

Edo

Interview and Photograph by Hannah Strudwick

Edo Diabaka is from the Democratic Republic of Congo and lives in Atlanta, Georgia

The future of my children motivated me to leave. So basically, if I didn’t have children, I wouldn’t be here. I was in the Congo, I was working at my  last position in the Congo for Heineken. I was making good money. And then it happened that I won the visa lottery. So the big question was, should I pursue my career or should I give a chance to my children?

I am a Christian, so I started thinking, Jesus left his glory to come down so that he could save the others, and that’s what changed my mind. I said, “It doesn’t matter if it’s going to work in the United States or not, I’m leaving my position.”

The really big memory that I have from the day I left is the people, the friends that I had, because I didn’t tell them that I was moving. And when we told them we were leaving, they were crying. And I didn’t expect that they would cry. I just realized that I was leaving the Congo forever. I kept saying “I’m not going to return here to live anymore.” That was my memory.

I can speak five languages. But most people can only speak one language. So, before judging someone that has an accent, ask yourself how many languages they can speak. My children are not bilingual, their first language is English. I changed it because I realized I was black. If my children have a French accent as well, then they have two discriminations. At least, I said, let me take away the accent.

Sometimes people that come from outside, they have a lot of values to contribute. Sometimes they may have some problems with a language barrier in the beginning. But it doesn’t mean that they can’t bring anything new.

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