Raymok Ketema

November 11th, 2011 ·
  • 2011 Goodin Family High Hopes Scholarship recipient
  • University of California, Santa Barbara
Buying a cup of basic coffee from Starbucks every day is something I could never afford, I considered it a complete luxury. Not only was it costly, but a cup on the street—while hot to the touch—did not carry the warmth of a cup in our household.  For many people, coffee is a quick and on-the-go drink, but in my culture, it is used for socializing. This past summer I traveled to Eritrea, and was able to witness how important socializing and bonding with other people is. While volunteering at the youth center and spending time with my relatives, I observed how everyone treated each other—with respect and care.  The morals and lessons in the stories my parents told me over cups of coffee, finally made sense to me. My culture, my identity, is a blur to many people. They see brown skin and they assume they are seeing economic and social disadvantage. But when I see my mother and father’s skin, I see strength, hope and pride. They are the epitome of my values, ideals and dreams, and I owe my understanding of all of this to a few coffee beans rattling around in a little tin bowl.
“She is an intelligent, thoughtful, kind human being, I am proud that I have had the opportunity to work with her, and hopeful about her future. Raymok is an asset to any academic program.” Teacher, Berkeley High School