As a child growing up on a farm in Somalia, Hassan Mead held a colorful image in his mind of what the United States looked like.“It might sound silly, but how would I describe it?” Mead says. “Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. That is what I pictured. Everything was perfect in the structure of the land, how people dressed and a place where everyone wanted to go. I would listen to stories and hear about ‘the good life.’”Mead was seven years old when he left much of his family in southeastern Somalia to spend a year in Djibouti, where he, his mother and his younger sister waited on their visas to join his father in the United States. Mead’s father had won a lottery that allowed for refugee immigration to the U.S., and he promptly filed paperwork for the rest of his family to join him.When Mead arrived in Minneapolis in the fall of 1999 at 10 years old—nearly 17 years before he represented the United States at the 2016 Olympic Games—he was impressed by the diversity he saw around him. “I had a perception of America that it would be a world full of blond hair and blue-eyed people and… Read full this story
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