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YES7 Poetry Contest Winners

November 24, 2009

The YES7 students recently were given an assignment to write a poem about their experience in the YES Program thus far. The assignment was very broad — it could be about meeting their host family, going to a new school, integrating into their community or anything about their experience.

The winning poems were sent to the State Department and will be featured on IRIS’s website. The five winners were:

  • “The Waiting,” by Daniel Ishaya
  • “Then the Day Came and I Saw…” by Elia Homange
  • “A Magical Dream,” by Eshpa Mollel
  • “My New Experiences in America,” by Muna El Hadhramy
  • “The Dream,” by Terver Kelvin Ubwa

The staff also awarded two Staff Pick awards for other creative poems to:

  • “House 209,” by Sunday Ishaya (based on Psalm 23)
  • “The Lazy American ‘T,'” by Tijjani Halilu

(From the Home page, click “read more…” to see and read the full poems!)

The Waiting

by Daniel Ishaya

I dreamed
From Nigeria, West Africa
Of going to the United States.
I wished my thoughts could make it so.
Not thinking it possible,
I waited.

When asked if I wanted to sit for a test,
A chance to come to America,
I said, “Yes!”
And again,
I waited.

I tested,
Then tested again.
first a hundred… then thirty-six of us.
I was summoned
To the state capital,

At the Ministry of Education
I saw my competition,
But we were competitors no more
Having received the highest scores.
We were off to America.

Now January,
We wouldn’t leave till August,
Eight months
To think and wait.
Worry and wonder.
Poking and prodding,
Vaccinating and x-raying,
Doctors ensuring we were healthy.

Eight hours on a bus.
Going to Abuja, the capital-
Three trips in all
Orientation experiences
The United States’ Embassy,
An interview with a white man.
Nervous, I chose to go first.

August 4, 6:00 a.m. – board bus to Abuja.
9:00 p.m. – board plane
Sixteen hours later – arrive in Des Moines, IA.
I, Daniel Ishaya, am in the
United States of America!

I want to see my host family,
Instead we go to eat.
Whoa! American food.
Scary thought – scarier sight!

We are blessed.
To go to Washington, D.C.
I want to meet my host family,
But more waiting.

We fly once again
Sight seeing…
White House…
State Department…
Holocaust Museum…
Arlington National Cemetery…
Lincoln Memorial…
Fly again

Back to Iowa.
Excitement builds
With my anticipation.
My host family
Is in the auditorium,
I am outside-
The doors fly open,
The families rush out.
They are anxious as we are.
The waiting is over.
Everyone is scanning.
Looking for that one face-
The face of our family.

No more waiting!

The Day Came and I Saw…

by Elia Homange

They told me of a school
It sounded very cool
Then the day came and I saw…

I had to take some tests
I had to be better then the rest
Then the dame came and I saw…

I traveled very far
By bus, by plane, by car
Then the day came and I saw…

I arrive in DeWitt
And wondered if I would fit
Then the day came and I saw…

I found a loving family
It seemed a perfect fit for me
Then the day came and I saw…

I wanted to be in a sport
Though I was not of that sort
Then the day came and I saw…

I thought that I would run
Up hills through mud wasn’t fun
Then the day came and I saw…

Teaching of a different kind
Is exercise for my mind
Then the day came and I saw…

When it was chorus time for singing
I wished to stop the bell from ringing
Then the day came and I saw…

I’ve watched people of my age
Perform on the stage
Then the day came and I saw…

I saw the Hawkeye Marching Band
It must be the best band in the land
Then the day came and I saw…

On the Mississippi, I did some boating
Also skiing, tubing, and floating
Then the day came and I saw…

The leaves began to fall
We had to rake them all
Then the day came and I saw…

On Halloween I could see my breath
The haunted houses scared me to death
Then the day came and I saw…

…that to me everything was new!

A Magical Dream

by Eshpa Mollel

I counted to three, three letters appeared
I continued to count, a number revealed
Isn’t it magical, I made YES 7
Everything is possible with YES 7

Above oceans, seas, lakes, mountains, and forests
From one culture to another
From experience to experience
Everything is made possible by YES 7

Making dreams come true
Creating memories to share
Cherished dreams and everlasting memories
Everything is made possible by YES 7

Best families… so lovely
Best coordinators… so caring
Best friends that last forever
Everything is made possible by YES 7

Now I am strong, my fears overcome
Now I can smile, I feel so secure
Now I am courageous and stand on my own
All is made possible by YES 7

From deep down in my heart, I thank you
From my fainting heart, I pray for you
From my loving heart, I care for you
From my shrinking heart, I’ll miss you

Everything is made possible by YES 7!

My New Experiences in America

by Muna Elhadhramy

My life in America is very fun
My journey began under the sun

I met my host parents and they were glad
For me to call them mom and dad

I enjoy spending time with them
We share stories and have a lot of fun

Pippi is our family dog’s name
I run from her but it is no game

I enjoy the American food very much
And I take time to eat a bunch

Spaghetti my mom did make
And yummy cookies she did bake

Each day I am so very bold
But oh! It is so very cold

The trees were very large and green
But now the wind and rain have stripped them clean

Ogden High School is very busy
I learned this when my pop got fizzy

Meeting new friends and going new places
I tried to remember all the new faces

My classes are hard and my teacher’s are funny
My history teacher …………. he is hyper as a bunny

I joined volleyball on my second day
We ran a lot to my dismay

I notice girls clothing as they are walking by
Are those shorts legal? I cover my eyes

Shifting classes confusing me
Lost I always seemed to be

Typing is not my specialty
I get lost within all the keys

I cha cha to the left and then to the right
Homecoming here was such a delight

During football games I cheer and stand
Especially during the marching band

Students at Ogden are very kind
I ask them help and they don’t mind

I really like my family and school
I promise to teach and don’t break the rules.

The Dream

by Terver Kelvin Ubwa

Like a sweet dream
I climbed the hurdles
Separating my real world and my dream world
My dream world filled with welcoming faces
Hugged me with love and kindness
with support and love
Which only my blood could give
Even my real world could only gaze at such love.

Lonely but contented
I towered my new found world
Peace I discovered in the friendliness
Joy I found in the understanding
Wanted I felt when I looked at happy faces.

Like a beautiful nightmare
Struggling to combine my two worlds
hard but gently and smoothly
like egg yolk mixing with flour
Blending with each other slowly
and finally it blends

Then suddenly my eyes filled with tears
When my real world comes calling
and my dream world gives away
Would my eyes ever dry
Would I find such joy
and understanding
Would love ever come my way
Would my tears flow forever

Like all dreams end
I discovered it was not just a dream
it was an adventure
it was an experience filled with fun
and a thousand miles from an ordeal.

Staff Picks:

House 209

by Sunday Ishaya
(Poem based on Psalm 23.)

IRIS is my guide, I shall not fear.
It lets me lay down beside cool Storm Lake –
And it leads me beside the Methodist Church – down to my school.
It restores my dollars every month
For its rules sake.
Even though I pass through the valley of the shadow of a thousand ladies – I make no girlfriend!
For I know your spices are with me – on the road and in town.
IRIS prepares a table before me in the World Food Prize
Though the rice is without salt, I still manage it with water.
Surely the first flight to Nigeria is waiting for me all the rest of my stay –
But I shall dwell in Terry’s House 209 from now until May.

The Lazy American ‘T’

by Tijjani Halilu

I was able to Identify
Though Ratify
How Americans Defy
The presence of ‘T’ to the so-called ‘D’

Something of surprise
Though rationalize
When they suncualize
Even if I try
When I say Peanut Butter
They said Peanud Budder

When I say Water Bottle
They said Wader Boddle
When I say Little
They said Liddle
They keep changing Atom to Adom, Better to Bedder, Newton to Newdn

Can’t they get it right?

Bottle — Boddle
Katie — Kadie
Mountain — Moundn
Katie — Kadie

It never makes sense to me… this LAZY American ‘T’

7 Comments leave one →
  1. DANNY LAISER permalink
    November 26, 2009 4:51 AM

    This is just a very good job done by these guys,I remember and I will keep in my mind that ,Iris yes DOES WONDERS!! !Good jog fox!

  2. Jim Velky permalink
    December 2, 2009 11:27 PM

    All of the poems are great. They all have humor and realism at the same time. They bring out laughter, fear, worry, new adventure, excitement, anticipation, and appreciation for this opportunity. Great Job to all!

  3. Auwal Ahmed permalink
    December 8, 2009 4:45 PM

    This is so amazing, students being so innovative and creative like professors. It is really STUPENDOUS!!!

  4. abdoolsalam yahya permalink
    January 18, 2010 5:48 PM

    am very happy 2 known dis program peace out

  5. Elisha Didam permalink
    April 24, 2010 7:25 PM

    wow, beautiful writeups. IRIS is really touching lives. These students will never remain the same again. keep up the work IRIS!!!

  6. riinret permalink
    April 25, 2010 3:59 PM

    I am sooooooooooooo proud of you guys! You are doing really well.
    I study English Literature in my second year in college and i am really impressed. The poems are great.
    Keep up the good work you have started.
    i was in he YES Program in 2007


  1. “The Lazy American ‘T’” | A Fresh Start

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