April 13, 1975, was the day it all began. Mohamad thought it would be just a regular day in Bint Jbeil, Lebanon. Although, he wasn’t aware of the blood feud and war that was happening a few miles down from his house.
Mohamad, his 8 sisters, and 3 brothers all tried to escape the area, hoping to get out of there in time. Until, Mohamad and his family heard shots coming from outside. Knowing what was happening outside, my dad and his family knew they couldn’t stay there for much longer.
At that moment Mohamad was thinking to himself, “ I was scared for my life, knowing that there was a 50-50 chance I was getting out of here alive.” Starting their journey to safety Mohamad and his family went from town to town crossing paths with other relatives
When Mohamad and his family finally reached safety, Mohamad was unsure of how to feel. Mohamad says,“ I didn’t want to stay in Lebanon anymore, I felt like this wasn’t the only attack that was going to happen here.”
10 years later, Mohamad and his family were living back in their house and Lebanon still had many issues and wasn’t a very stable environment. During these 10 years, Mohamad was trying to make the best out of a bad situation. Mohamad and his family moved into a better house which was a better fit for his family of 11. Mohamad made a choice to move from Lebanon to America where he felt life would be better.
The huge issue for Mohamad and many other people who wanted to leave Lebanon was getting a Visa. Mohamad applied for a Visa when he was 14, he says,” The hardest part about trying to come to America was waiting to see if they were going to reject me or accept me so I could come up with a backup plan of what I was going to do with my life.”
After a long wait of 6 years for his Visa, Mohamad finally moved to Queens, New York. Even after moving to America, Mohamad didn’t have an easy life. Trying to adapt to a new lifestyle in an unfamiliar place. When I asked Mohamad how hard it was adapting to a big city, he said, “ It was just me and my brother and we were clueless about how life was going to be here, we didn’t know anyone from around here and didn’t even know what this place had to offer us.”
Mohamad and his brother Hussein rented an apartment and they lived there on their own for 8 years just trying to build a life for themselves. “ Life in Queens was temporary and I knew I was going to have to leave sooner or later because the apartment I was living in wasn’t good enough to care for future children,” says Mohamad.
Later in 2001, Mohamad went back to Lebanon for 2 months and got married. Knowing that he was going to start a family soon Mohamad moved to a larger apartment in New Jersey. Mohamad was thankful that he didn’t have to go looking for another job for his apartment in New Jersey was close to his work in Manhattan,“ The job that I had was the only line of money I had for providing for my wife and I.”
Mohamad and his wife continued to live on their own for a little over a year.
From 2003-2009 Mohamad and his wife now had 3 kids living under a very cramped roof. Mohamad wasn’t making a really big salary working in a clothing store. Mohamad now had the responsibility of paying rent and providing for his family.
Mohamad’s sister Khadije lived in Dearborn, Michigan. Mohamad decided to go check out Dearborn. After coming back from his trip, Mohamad came to the decision to now move his family to a real house.” I moved my family between houses thinking every move that it was going to be permanent, but I felt Dearborn would be a good fit for my family because there is many people that have the same culture as us and much more people there to help us”, Mohamad says. In 2013, Mohamad and his family finally moved to Dearborn, Michigan.
Mohamad obviously had to get a new job. Instead of working for someone Mohamad and his brother invested in owning an Oil Change business in Flint. They have also put forth their money into owning land that is now a car dealership.
To this day, Mohamad, his sister and his two brothers are the only ones in their family to move to America and have a successful and productive life. “ I would never move my family back to Lebanon because their safety is always at risk with a weak government and many other issues that are currently in Lebanon,” Mohamad says. The only thing that connected Mohamad to his parents now was the phone call he makes at 9:00 every morning.