His Instagram post from his hospital bed read, “If anyone loves me, they will bring me food!” And his friends know that he means it. Severin exemplifies the old adage, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” To know Severin well is to know his enthusiastic love for food – wings, watermelon, Takis, seafood boils, and venison jerky. He spent much of 2022, however, eating bland hospital food.
Severin is a storyteller, a caregiver, and a friend. His friends describe him as genuine, wise, a good advice giver, and an excellent role model for his younger brother. Severin’s migration story began in Cameroon, but his story continues to impact people in Indianapolis today.
Born in Cameroon in 2003, Severin traveled to the Central African Republic with his mother when he was young to stay with her family. While they were there, a civil war broke out and rebels burned their home down. They fled back to Cameroon. While Severin was growing up in Cameroon, it became apparent that he had significant health issues. His mother, in an effort to afford adequate health care for him, ran her own small business and began selling her belongings bit by bit. She soon realized that even if she sold everything, Severin could not get the care he needed so she applied for refugee status. She hoped that in the United States, she could find better work opportunities and better health care for her son.
When he was 14, Severin traveled to the United States with his mother and his 1-year old brother. In many ways, he lived a typical American teenage life. He was on the school soccer team. He enjoyed normal activities like hanging out with friends and cooking, but hated doing the dishes. His favorite classes were Biology and Geometry. He cared for his brother while his Mom worked. Not everything, however, was typical for Severin. His health problems persisted and he was in and out of the hospital. In May 2022, his high school graduation ceremony was held in a hospital room at Eskenazi Hospital when his guidance counselor came to give him his diploma and was joined by his soccer coach, his pastors, and his mother.
During 2022, Severin has been hospitalized several times. Due to a birth defect, he has only one good lung. His medical team hopes to remove the non-functioning lung, so they are working to make his body strong enough to endure the surgery and recover well. Through each hospitalization, Severin’s attitude remains optimistic even as he faces obstacles. He enjoys visits from his friends and appreciates the prayers of anyone who comes to see him. And, of course, he welcomes any food that visitors bring him when they drop by! He’s never at a loss for stories to tell and topics to discuss.
Severin’s positive outlook inspires others. He explains, “No matter how much I give her [my mother], it won’t be enough for what she has done for me. The most important thing is not to be rich but to have enough to take care of my family – my mom and brother. I consider myself the man of the house and I want to help my mom so she can count on me.”
His hopes are set on the future as he looks forward to studying to become a mechanical engineer after recovering from surgery. In the meantime, Severin inspires people around him by his faithful friendship and his attitude of gratitude. Even though he could justify feelings of anger or defeat, Severin does not consider either option.Read more: Severin’s Migration story
**Migration Stories are written by the Migros Aid team and wish to highlight the heroic journeys of our friends from around the world.