Heba (pronounced Hee-bah) was born and raised in Libya before her family moved to Cairo in the 1990’s in pursuit of a better life. While living in Cairo, Heba completed her high school degree and attended three years of college. When she met her husband, an American citizen originally from Libya, she made the decision to return to the United States with him and pursue her own American citizenship.
When she arrived in the United States, Heba remembers being surprised that it wasn’t more like the American movies she watched when growing up. In the films, she says, everything was big and flashy and loud. There were always busy streets and bright colors. But when she and her husband came to Sioux Falls, South Dakota (where the tallest building is eleven stories and the ground is frozen solid for six months of the year) she was very surprised.
Another experience that impacted Heba’s American experience was her first snowfall in the Midwest. Her husband still teases her about the hours she spent staring out the window the first time she saw snow, and how surprised she was by its beauty. Despite her fond recollections of her first interaction with snow, Heba now says she really doesn’t like the cold and would prefer if the snow could be accompanied by warmer weather.
When sharing her experience of living in the Midwest for the last twenty years, Heba is quick to praise the community she lives in, often mentioning how warm and kind everyone has been to her during her time here. She especially loves that her three sons (ages 12, 15, and 19) have access to public education and live in a safe community.
She has worked as an Arabic interpreter for fourteen years, spending time with several local translating companies, but says her time working at the Multi-Cultural Center has been her favorite job. According to Heba, the best part of interpreting is when she gets to speak her own language with people who share her culture. She has one client, an elderly Sudanese woman, who she especially adores and looks up to as a maternal figure.
Thank you for being a part of our team, Heba. We are so lucky to have you!