The Eagle Way

From a World Away: An Eagle’s Journey to Broomfield High

Tino Martinez, Staff Writer

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In 2009, Tariku Nuñez, 9, known to most of us simply as “T”, moved to the US from a country that is thousands of miles away on a different continent: Ethiopia.

One day, heading back to the adoption center they had been staying at for the previous two years in Asela, Ethiopia, Tariku and his little brother rode a bus. As they were driving, they would always see camels peacefully walking along the road, just minding their own business. When Tariku had gone through the city, everywhere he looked were homeless people who had their kids with them.

After they arrived at the adoption center, Tariku was called to head over to the nursery. He was frightened and worried — visiting the nursery wasn’t a normal event at the adoption center. He didn’t know what he was walking into; he didn’t know he needed to prepare for what was going to be told to him. As he walked in, a nurse informed him that his brother was sick and had a disease.

Tariku was scared and worried. Worried because his brother had a disease, but scared because he was afraid for him: his brothers and sisters wouldn’t be adopted: “Knowing that a child has a disease decreases the chances of getting adopted because who would want a kid who is sick and would have to pay medical bills for,” said Tariku.

As days went on, Tariku’s brother became healthy and, finally, after a two-year wait, Tariku and his little brother were adopted. As they moved to the U.S, his older brother and sister stayed behind to take care of their real parents (they weren’t informed as to their biological parents’ identity until after their adoption). With similar compassion for his parents, Tariku explained, “My first step after moving to the new world is to be able to be successful and get a scholarship in soccer so I could go back to Ethiopia to see my family after being gone for a long time, help support them with anything they need, and to be able to love and cherish them.”

Tariku learned to play soccer, the sport that he loves most, at the adoption center he had lived at. They never had cleats, so he had to wear whatever the adoption center had given him. “They didn’t have the best shoes to wear, but they were good enough to get around and to play soccer in,” said Tariku.

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Tariku monkeying around at practice

Life in Ethiopia wasn’t always the best for Tariku. This was especially recognizable for him after moving to the U.S and being able to see the different life styles. First off, according to T, Ethiopia is always blazing hot. However, sometimes it would rain and possibly snow, and those days were very special to Tariku. Also, Ethiopia isn’t the wealthiest country; they didn’t have a Starbucks, a regular grocery store, or even a mall. They only had a little market near by to get all their food, but they had to walk because they had no car.

Tariku was the waterboy because, in Ethiopia, people had “jobs” that had to be done each day. Additionally, homes in Asela, Ethiopia had no electricity, so everything that they had to do and get done had to be done during the day when there was light.

Ethiopia also didn’t have any holidays to celebrate, not even birthdays. Speaking of birthdays, Tariku was born without a birth certificate, which meant nobody knew what his birthday was, so they had to make one up for him.

Life in Ethiopia had its ups and downs, but his best friend Atanna was always by his side no matter what, and Tariku will always miss him. T hopes he will get the chance to see him again. Now that Tariku lives in the US, he has other best friends: Cobe Fatovic, Jack Stoecker, and Brian Robish — a few sophomore soccer players.

Tariku didn’t always have an easy life, but one thing that did come easy to him was being able to learn English. Ethiopia’s official language is Amharic, which is Tariku’s first language.

They never had any English classes, Tariku had to learn English by himself. He would learn by listening to the people who spoke it and he’d emulate their words. Also, he would read the English textbooks they had for his school, which he would take the time to look at and study. He must have caught onto speaking English pretty quickly because, according to one of his friends and fellow teammates, Jordan Farner, “You would never know that he was even from Ethiopia because his English is so good, and he doesn’t even have an accent.” Even the head coach of boys soccer team and language arts teacher, Jim Davidson, is impressed by T’s English: “For only being here for six years, I’m amazed on how well his English is. His participation in the classroom, and his athleticism [are impressive as well].”  

Even though Tariku had some ups and downs throughout his life in Ethiopia, he still thrives today to be the best he can be and aims to accomplish his dreams.

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2 Comments

2 Responses to “From a World Away: An Eagle’s Journey to Broomfield High”

  1. Steve anderson on October 26th, 2016 9:12 pm

    I know T & he and his brother are amazing young men. Could not be more proud to call them my friends! He will do all that he dreams about & you can count on that.

    [Reply]

  2. Pamela Rizzuto on October 26th, 2016 11:17 pm

    Wonderful story!!! I have Tariku in class and would never have known any of this information. He’s definitely going to go far in life with his drive, desire, and dedication.

    [Reply]

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From a World Away: An Eagle’s Journey to Broomfield High