Escaping corruption

Sophomore Riad Hachem and his family moved to the U.S. for a new beginning


Riad Hachem

Hachem (second from the left) spends time with his friends in Brazil.

Lily Berggoetz, Reporter

Right as Ali Hachem stepped off the plane in October 2016, he knew he made the right decision to leave his home country of Brazil. In March 2017, junior Riad Hachem, Ali’s son came to America to be with his father and step-mom.

The Hachem family moved to America due to corruption in Brazil’s government. According to Ali, Brazil is a very dangerous place to live.

“It’s impossible for you to walk the streets with a cell phone in your hand or new shoes because someone is going to rob you and maybe kill you to have your stuff,” Ali said in an email to The Journal.

According to Ali, Brazil suffers from endemic corruption, which is poverty and violence in a country. Ali says he had always had a dream to move to America as he calls it the “land of opportunity.”

“The people are getting poorer (and) the violence is getting worse,” Ali said, “Rio de Janeiro, one of the most beautiful cities in Brazil, has become a war zone.”

Riad came to America after his father had already arrived here. Riad says that it was a bit of a struggle to adjust, mostly because of how different the school systems are.

According to him, the schools are five stories tall and classrooms had 60 to 70 students at a time. Students also are not allowed to pick their own schedule. Instead, the government chose their classes for them.

School was not the only thing that made it difficult for him to adjust to his new home.

Getting to know a new city and getting to know how to get around and making new friends – that was the hardest,” Riad said.

Riad says he has adapted pretty well. He is a part of the football team and has made new friends because of it.

Riad says that one thing that makes it more difficult being in a new country is not having family around. He says it is hard when have to depend on certain people until make friends and get to know others.

“You only have one or two people to depend on and that’s the hardest part getting to depend on someone and only that person until you can make other connections and that takes a long time,” Riad said.

According to Ali, his biggest fear for Riad was that he would not be able to make friends, adapt and have problems in school. When he realized that Riad was happy here, he knew he made the right choice moving.

From the moment Ali and Riad stepped out of the plane, they knew it was going to a new phase in their lives. Ali says that the day they moved here sparked the happiness of a new chapter of their lives.