Meet our Staff: Bisrat Gebremichael

Bisrat Begremichael, Personal Aide

When did you start to work at Selfhelp and what inspired you to work here?
I started to work here almost one year ago, last November. I got inspired to work here because of a friend that works here (Meleshew). She told me everything important to know and that’s why I came here.

What things do you like to do when you are not at work and what is your favorite thing about Chicago?
My children go to school here in Chicago and I use much of my free time to take care of them. I take them to school, help with homework, and things like that. But I also like the churches here and I like to go to church if I have time for it.

What country are you from?
I am from Ethiopia, but in 1993 I went to Yemen. In 2005 I finally arrived in the U.S.A. I came because of the political situation for my husband and the education for my children.

What is your favorite food or dish from your country?
I like a lot of the traditional Ethiopian food, but the one I like the most is kitfo (a dish made with minced raw beef, spices, and herb-infused clarified butter).

How has your experience been adjusting to a new culture and working environment in the United States?
I like working here. There are more opportunities to work and do a job. The culture for the most part is a Kitfo different one, but there are also a lot of different
people who live out their culture freely.

Can you share any differences you’ve noticed between your home country and here?
Both countries have a lot of different cultures and much religion, but in America there is more freedom. Freedom for your political opinion or religion. I like it very much that you can express yourself more in America.

Do you still visit your home country?
Yes, I still have family there and that’s why I still go there on vacation to visit.
The last time I went there was almost one year ago now.

What is your first language, and do you still use it?
So, my first language is Gurage, but there are not many people who speak Gurage. I use it to speak to my family most of the time and I still use it. The language you use to talk to most people back home is Amharic.

Is there anything interesting you want to share about your home country?
Ethiopia is a very beautiful country. A lot of culture, much different music, and beautiful nature. But there are a lot of problems in terms of education, politics and job opportunities.