The purpose of the documentary project was to highlight an influential person, place, or idea within the community. I chose to document the life of my grandfather, Truneh Wolde Selassie.
Like every project here at Freestyle, my three classes of English, Design, and Digital Media worked together to form the complete products this website presents. I wrote my documentary research paper in English. In my Digital Media class, I created an introduction video to my documentary topic in After Effects. Finally, in Design I formatted my published book using InDesign. The writing process was more difficult than I expected. Coming up with the idea of what I wished to document didn’t demand much, on the other hand, actually getting the words on the paper was much more challenging than I expected. Using InDesign was fairly simple. We learned how to create styles for certain things such as our paragraphs and headers, which then allowed us to use those same formats throughout the book, as opposed to constantly having to change things to look a certain way. The website was also pretty easy to create, due to it following the same structure as the previous websites I have created in Digital Media.
I wrote this book with the intention to tell a foreigner’s story because far too often, immigrant stories go untold. We have so much to learn from their world which can be beneficial and enriching. I think it’s essential to listen to the accounts told by those foreign to us. I also understand that there are many against immigration to the United States. Nonetheless, it’s important to remember that whether it be about fearing immigrants themselves or fearing a loss in nationalism, America’s legend is indeed composed of immigrant memoirs.
As a first-generation Ethiopian-American, I have been immersed in Ethiopian culture throughout my life which has helped me identify as such. However, saying I’m American comes with ease while claiming I’m Ethiopian is coupled with hesitance. Growing up in the U.S. and chiefly abiding by its societal standards and not Ethiopia’s, has routed my mindset to be more American-specific. Not only that, but my inability to fluently speak Amharic (the common Ethiopian dialect) and my literal distaste for Ethiopian food make the overarching sense of disconnect from my ethnicity only that much more potent. Be that as it may, I’ve come to align myself with the idea of ancestral roots embodying a person. It’s never been hard to discuss where my parents are from or where their parents and those prior lived. If anything, it’s extremely prideful because of the success they’ve achieved and their partaking in the American dream. This is why I chose the topic of my grandfather’s life for my documentary piece. His story from humble beginnings to an author, pastor, and influential presence within his community is awe-inspiring. Through leading a fulfilling life by manifesting sincere Ethiopian morals and Christian values, Kindye has served as an example to many within his community. I believe that my perspective on my grandfather’s life is important because it tells me something about who I am. After having discussed several things in which we had never spoken about before, I have realized that knowing the journey that those before you have traveled can shape the journey that lies ahead of you. Having a distinct sense of where you’re from can help you get to know who you truly are. Knowing yourself also solidifies your assessment of personal concepts which may have been previously foreign. This intrapersonal understanding leads you towards directions in which you can further yourself and your future.
Truneh Woldeselassie “Kindye” was the focus of my documentary project. He is many things to many people: a retired teacher and administrator, a father, a friend, a husband, or a pastor. However to me, he is a grandfather and role model; Which is why I chose to write my book about him. Throughout this writing process, he has taught me more about himself than I ever expected to learn. I will be taking the knowledge he’s imparted with me through life and hope I can pass on the same words of wisdom to my kin.
Thank you Kindye, for teaching me resilience and love for who I am.
Likimyelesh Kassa “Temetye” is the 53 year wife of Kindye and mother of four. I thought is was important to include her point of view because not only have they spent the most time in their lives with each other, yet they have also greatly impacted how the other thinks and feels the way they do today. Prior to this project, I had realised that I was unaware of how my grandmother felt about pivotal events that happened in my grandfather’s life, thus I was looking forward to learning something new about the people I have known all my life. I am thankful that I was able to learn a new side of their love story and her appreciation for Kindye through our interviews.
Thank you Temetye, for teaching me faith and responsibility.
Wayneab Truneh is the daughter of Kindye and Temetye and a mother of three. She was born in Ethiopia and then moved to America for her college education and later life. I wanted to include her point of view because not only did it reflect the first-hand teachings and parenting of my grandfather, but it expressed the point of view of an Ethiopian child and an American adult as well. This was important to my topic because I wrote about my Grandfather with a focus on how the lives of those from immigrant countries affect and shape the lives of the first generation offspring within new countries. Throughout this project, my mother was able to offer me the insight Kindye had once bestowed upon her, and for that I am extremely grateful.
Thank you Mama, for teaching me respect and diligence.