My American Dream

Natasha McKeown’s U.S. history class completes a project on the American dream


Photograph by Saliah Johnson

Courtney Tsamba, Contributor

My definition of the American dream comes from the disadvantaged Zimbabwean children’s point of view. My American dream is for my children to receive equal opportunity, fair treatment and other important human rights and dignities that will make their lives comfortable. When l picture America it is the most abundant and prosperous land. It flourishes with luxurious accommodations that deprived African children crave. Therefore being American to me indicates a sign of privilege! I come from hard working dedicated subsistence farmers, striving entrepreneurs, grieving and desperate vendors. My society is very complicated and there are hierarchies that allow only the rich people’s lives to be fulfilled, while injustice and corruption triumphs over the voiceless.

While trying to digest my imagination of the American dream l had an intricate discussion with my lovely roommate Amarah, who is also from Zimbabwe. Amarah was born in Zimbabwe and she arrived in the U.S. recently on the 16th of August. She had visited the United States before and when she returned, it hit her reality that she was back here for school and nothing other than a temporary, short visit. Amarah mentioned how distinguishable details of the airport, roads and cars, shopping malls, etc. made her understand that she was now living in the United States.

According to Amarah her stay here has mostly been positive. “I have already started working on my future,” she says. She added that generally she has been having fun with her friends, and they have helped create new exhilarating experiences from what she was used to in Zimbabwe.

Photograph by Kyle Matthews

Although Amarah appreciates living in the United States, one event about an elementary shooting in Texas has been worrisome for her. “Little babies were killed,” Amarah said in a remorseful, and weary tone. She knew she was coming to the U.S. where sometimes shootings occur; however, she didn’t think people had it in them to go to an elementary school packed with innocent children to end their lives. Can you picture their cute faces lifeless on the ground in drenched bloody clothes? It is unimaginable and horrifying. Nonetheless, she mentioned that it had an educational impact on her. She was reminded not to be comfortable in places she is not used to and has never seen here in the U.S. 

Amarah believes that the American dream is existent for her. Despite the unexpected challenges the country and the world as a whole has been facing, for instance Covid and the Ukraine war with Russia, she says, “l am glad and grateful of this opportunity l was given to come and study in America.” She mentioned how enthusiastic she is to learn, go to college here and enter medical school. Her American dream is to live a successful life by having a sustainable career as a doctor and she wishes to give back by helping the ailing in Zimbabwe.

In summary most African children wish they were born and raised in America. Whether rich or poor, the life of an ordinary Zimbabwean compared to the average American is significantly different. However, when given the opportunity most children want to expand their horizons and have stable and fancy lives. Therefore the American dream can  be attainable  and l hope to live mine!