There are no cardinal directions to tell where I am from. I am from everywhere. I am from Sudan, Chad, France, and the United States, and a little city called Utica, New York....I am from Masalit, English, and Braille. Masalit is not written or read. I am making history at this moment when I say 'talim'. This translates to 'education' in English. It is historical because it is the first time a Masalit word has ever been written, read, and recorded in Braille.
Ahmat Djouma, a student at Mohawk Valley Community College, gave this moving speech before the 2019 conference of the Achieving the Dream Network, an organization of community colleges. He grew up in Sudan and then Chad while blind and speaking a language, Masalit, that has no written form. His long journey, which he hopes will lead to a career in law or government, is only just beginning.