Practice English Speaking&Listening with: We had to run for our lives - Jawahir Roble | ? Strong is...

Difficulty: 0

My name is Jawahir Roble, but you can call me JJ. I am a referee from London.

So, I wasnt born in the UK. I am originally from Somalia.

My family, everyone was just living in Somalia, normal lives and everything,

and we would play football until, literally, the sun goes down.

Sometimes wed play football at the beach. Theres this really, really nice, famous beach in Somalia,

its called Lido Beach. We would play there literally every weekend.

I will never forget that, its the best memory ever.

And then, there was a civil war, so it got really, really bad.

I remember vividly what happened in Somalia. It was horrible because, imagine youre at home,

the kids that you play football with, everyone is being told to run for their lives

and just go somewhere else, and then not being able to say goodbye to some of the kids,

and then your neighbours, everyone would just randomly leave as soon as possible,

and then you have to go. That was hard because you want to say goodbye

but you cant because everyones literally running for their lives. But, yeah, it did get pretty bad.

It was bad. So, we had to flee the country and then seek refuge in the UK.

Nothings going to be the same. Everything is going to start fresh.

New school. New everything. Honestly, its going to be us starting everything all over again

And for us to accept the facts and just to start again and move on, it was hard.

Imagine you have to meet new people, you have to leave your home. We live in a new house

and were just like: “Wow! Everything happened so fast without warning.”

And you have to accept it because everything thats new is not always bad.

Us, my family, being very, like, football fanatics, especially me, coming to England,

especially living in Wembley, thats right next to the stadium. What more can you ask for?

And every time, we can hear all the cheering and everything from the fans, from our garden.

So, all our siblings would play a match every [day] after school.

At the beginning, it was really hard because I couldnt speak a word of English, honestly,

but I got into integrating with the kids because of football.

So, I would play with the girls, the boys. Everyone would play and, in class,

Id be just so quiet but on the pitch, Im literally the loudest:

Pass me the ball! Pass me the ball!”.

How did I learn all this stuff? Because, I dont know, football. And my confidence started to grow.

Its random, innit? Refereeing over playing, like, come on.

Even Im like, how? No, but the reason is because it was a struggle with my parents.

Like, in school, I was like: “I want to become a player”.

I kept repeating it but no-one took me seriously.

And as you get older, if you dont achieve that at a certain age, it gets difficult because,

you know, you get a bit injured and a lot of things happen,

and if youre not in a team, training, its difficult. So, I picked up refereeing.

I was told to try it and I did, and, honestly, I dont regret it at all.

Its so difficult. Nobody likes referees, but think about this:

without a referee, theres no game happening, and to be fair, referees have the best seat.

You can see everything. You can see all the action, all the emotions.

You can see everything, man. I remember the difficulties that Ive experienced at the beginning,

especially with my family, because they knew how crazy I was about football,

and they thought it would be something that I would grow out of.

As I got older, I was asking questions. I was like: “Can I please play for a professional team one day?”,

orCan I...”, I dont know. “I want to coach. I want to be involved in football,

and I dont want to do anything else”. They were likeNo, JJ. Footballs not for you.”

I know where they were coming from because I was, you know, a black, Somali girl, visibly Muslim.

So, therefore, I would be targeted, and they would be like:

OK, if JJ gets into that environment, she will get bullied, people will never accept her,

people will never take her seriously,

so lets just direct her in another profession”. I did do that, Im not going to lie.

I went to uni for two years to study IT and then I dropped out because it was not for me.

They were kind of looking out for me, but I didnt see that. It was just like a little battle.

I saw it as them being strict on me.

But, I dont know, the communication was not like me trying to get what they were saying.

I just saw it as them being really, really strict, and then every day, Im just hiding my boots,

going training, and then when I come back home, theyd be like: “Where have you been, JJ?”.

Im like: “Umm, library.”

Im so glad I stuck to what I believed in because, at the end of the day,

now they see me as someone who actually is resilient.

They see that I have a serious passion for football, and I have their full support.

The Somali community in London is so supportive.

When Im walking down the road, theyre like: “Oh, youre that referee, arent you?”.

Im like: “Yeah, yeah, yeah”. Theyre like: “Literally, my little daughter looks up to you.

Youre so good”. And then, back home, you get those calls like:

So, JJ, are you sure youre going to still stick to football?

Are you sure youre not going to do anything else?”.

Im like: “Its going to be football all the way.

Thats it. Leave me alone, guys”. So, back home, its still like:

When is she going to grow up?”. They have that same mindset my parents had at the beginning,

but, you know, we can change them, too.

Being strong, to me, it means to be... to first believe in who you are,

because I believed in myself when nobody believed in me. Whatever dream you have,

whatever mission you have, anything positive you want to achieve in life,

just know that, honestly, theres times when your parents believe in you,

everyone else believes in you, but you dont believe in yourself.

Youre not going to achieve it because no-ones going to drag you to school.

You have to do the hard work yourself, believe in yourself and, one day, youll achieve your things.

The Description of We had to run for our lives - Jawahir Roble | ? Strong is...