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Tashitaa Tufaa drives one of his company's school bus. (VOA)

Minneapolis, September 26, 2017: When Tashitaa Tufaa first arrived in Minneapolis from Ethiopia in 1992, he remembers craning his head skyward in disbelief. Looking up at the tallest skyscraper he had ever seen, he began counting the stories until he couldn’t count anymore. Eventually, he found out the building had 55 floors.

It was a long way from Negele Arsi district in the Oromia region of Ethiopia where he grew up. As a child, he worked alongside his 13 siblings on the family farm.


Now he’d have to do other types of work. He thought he had a fluent command of English that would open doors in the job market.

“But I found out that I didn’t after I came to Minneapolis,” he said.


Tashitaa Tufaa, owner, CEO and president of Metropolitan Transportation Network Inc., at the company’s headquarters, in Fridley, Minnesota (VOA)

He began as a dishwasher at the Hilton Hotel, earning $5.65 an hour. Eventually, he held as many as three jobs at once, including ones at manufacturing companies and another as a security guard.

The small paychecks of those days are long gone for Tashitaa Tufaa, who is now president of a successful bus company.

Each day, Metropolitan Transportation Network carries more than 15,000 children to schools, field trips and other destinations in Minneapolis and other Minnesota cities. The multimillion-dollar transportation company has more than 300 employees and recently moved to a new, larger operations centre.

‘I do not believe in giving up’

The road to success hasn’t been easy, but Tufaa believes his experience shows that for those willing to work hard, anything is possible.

“I do not believe in giving up,” he told VOA.

Tashitaa Tufaa came to the U.S. as a refugee. He had been a school teacher in Ethiopia and was also active in politics. Following the fall of Ethiopia’s communist Derg regime in 1991, he helped campaign for the Oromo Liberation Front in his native Oromia region.

When his party withdrew from the transitional government after a fallout with the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, Tufaa no longer felt safe in the country and decided to leave.

“I was a political asylee. I didn’t like or agree with the Ethiopian government,” he said.

While working his menial jobs in the U.S. he also earned his master’s degree in political science and international relations from the University of Minnesota. After obtaining the degree, he worked for the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority.


A fleet of Metropolitan Transportation Network buses in a parking lot at the company’s headquarters in Fridley, Minnesota (VOA)

Dishwashing and factory work was not enough to provide for his family, so he took an evening and weekend job as a shuttle driver, transporting senior citizens and people with disabilities to and from work.

“As a result, I fell in love with transportation and I call myself an addicted driver,” he said with a chuckle.

He left his city job after a conflict with a supervisor and began driving taxis. But other drivers complained that he worked long hours and favored shorter trips to avoid long queues at the airport.

Eventually, the taxi company fired him and, with no other options, he decided to strike out on his own.

“To do a business, you need to face a challenge. You can’t start a business if there is a luxury,” Tufaa said.

Starting with one van

After sketching out their idea for a transportation company in 2003, Tashitaa Tufaa and his brother began delivering handwritten letters to public school districts seeking contracts. He started with his wife’s single minivan transporting homeless children.


Tashitaa Tufaa chats with mechanics and drivers at Metropolitan Transportation Network’s maintenance shop in Fridley, Minnesota. (VOA)

Tufaa — who had once aspired to be a diplomat — says his negotiation and bargaining skills paid off. Their service was rated as excellent by public school districts and the business grew.

The business has steadily grown and now includes a fleet of nearly 300 buses and vans that take children to schools across the state. In 2012 Tufaa was named Entrepreneur of the Year by the Metropolitan Economic Development Association in Minneapolis.

Since the beginning, Tufaa says, he prioritized the safety and punctuality of the children his company serves.

“I will not accept for my kids to arrive in school one minute late,” the father of five said. “I make sure that is the case for all the children we serve.”

Minnesota has long, snowy winters. Although buses typically drop off kids and leave, MTN pays its drivers to wait until the children get inside their homes or are met by an adult.

ALSO READ Beyond Borders: Syrian Refugee Re-unites with Family After a Year, Shares Kisses Through Wired Fences in Cyprus But Hopes to go ‘Home’ Someday

Employees marvel at his ability to grow the business without sacrificing his values.

“When I joined everything all I was hearing was, ‘We want to be more like a family,’” said Charles Marks, an assistant transportation manager at the company. “We kept that tradition and that makes the drivers come back every year. I always keep an empty chair next to my desk for anyone who wants to come and talk.”

Tufaa believes in building and empowering communities to be self-sufficient. He is active in the local Oromo community.

Estimated at 40,000 by the Minnesota Historical Society, Minnesota is home to the largest Oromo population outside of Ethiopia in the U.S.

Tufaa advises and mentors employees interested in starting their own business. In fact, since 2012, three former employees have started their own successful transportation companies.

“The greatest gift I think you can give people like you is that it can be done and I feel like I’ve done that,” Tufaa said.

This, he says, is a lesson for all African immigrants pursuing their American dream.

“When a person is free, you can do anything,” Tashitaa Tufaa said. “So appreciate what you have, work so very hard, and get rid of the wrong pride we have back home that if you have a college degree you have to be in a professional line [of work] and you can’t dig the potatoes or do the dishes. Work is work and go out there and do what is available. Be proud of it.” (VOA)


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Upcoming medical colleges in Uttar Pradesh will be named after saints and sages

The new medical colleges being opened in Uttar Pradesh will be named after saints and sages.

The state government has issued an order naming four district hospitals that are being converted into medical colleges.

These district hospitals are in Bijnor, Fatehpur, Chandauli, and Siddharth Nagar.

The Bijnor medical college has been named after Mahatma Vidur, a philosopher during the Mahabharata era and uncle of the Pandavas and Kauravas.

The Chandauli medical college has been named after Baba Keenaram, said to be the founder of the Aghori sect.

The Siddharth Nagar district hospital will be called Madhav Prasad Tripathi Medical College after the BJP politician from the region. Tripathi, popularly known as Madhav Babu, was also the first Uttar Pradesh BJP chief. He was elected MP from Domariyaganj in 1977, besides being two times Jan Sangh MLA and also a member of the UP legislative council.

The Fatehpur hospital has been named Amar Shaheed Jodha Singh Ataiya Thakur Dariyawn Singh Medical College, after the freedom fighter of 1857.

It is said that he was among the first to use Guerrilla warfare against the British, as taught by freedom fighter Tatya Tope.

Meanwhile, according to official sources, the medical college in Deoria will be named after Maharishi Devraha Baba and the medical college of Ghazipur in the name of Maharishi Vishwamitra.

The medical college of Mirzapur will be in the name of Maa Vindhyavasini, the medical college of Pratapgarh in the name of Dr. Sonelal Patel and the medical college of Etah will be named after Veerangana Avantibai Lodhi. (IANS/JB)

Keywords: Medical Colleges, Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, India, Politics


Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Photo of Indian cricket team on the ground

Former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq has picked India as the favourite to win the ongoing ICC Men's T20 World Cup in Oman and United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Inzamam feels that the Virat Kohli-led India have a greater chance of winning the trophy as the conditions in the Gulf nations are similar to the subcontinent, which makes India the most dangerous side in the event, according to Inzamam.

"In any tournament, it cannot be said for certain that a particular team will win' It's all about how much chance do they have of winning it. In my opinion, India have a greater chance than any other team of winning this tournament, especially in conditions like these. They have experienced T20 players as well," said Inzamam on his YouTube channel.

He said more than the Indian batters, the bowlers have a lot of experience of playing in the conditions. The Indian Premier League (IPL) was played recently in UAE and most of the Indian bowlers did well in that leg.

Inzy heaped praises on the Men in Blue for the confident manner in which they chased the target against Australia on a challenging track without needing Kohli's batting prowess.

"India played their warm-up fixture against Australia rather comfortably. On subcontinent pitches like these, India are the most dangerous T20 side in the world. Even today, if we see the 155 runs they chased down, they did not even need Virat Kohli to do so," he added.

Though he did not pick any favourite, Inzamam termed the India-Pakistan clash in the Super 12 on October 24 as the 'final before the final' and said the team winning it will go into the remaining matches high on morale,

"The match between India and Pakistan in the Super 12s is the final before the final. No match will be hyped as much as this one. Even in the 2017 Champions Trophy, India and Pakistan started and finished the tournament by facing each other, and both the matches felt like finals. The team winning that match will have their morale boosted and will also have 50 percent of pressure released from them," Inzamam added. (IANS/JB)

Keywords: India, Pakistan, Sports, ICC T20 World Cup, UAE.


Photo by Diana Akhmetianova on Unsplash

Skin problems like itchiness, dryness and flakiness can occur anytime if you're not moisturising your body enough.

Skin problems like itchiness, dryness and flakiness can occur anytime if you're not moisturising your body enough. It is commonly observed that while many people take their skincare routine seriously, a majority of them neglect to moisturise the body. It is important to keep in mind that timing matters a lot when it comes to applying moisturisers. Therefore, knowing the appropriate time to apply body lotion is essential.

Take a look at the ideal times to moisturise your body shared by Kimi Jain, Head of Retail, KIMRICA.

Morning
Moisturising the body in the morning sets your skin up to face countless irritants and environmental factors during the day. The skin is constantly exposed to harsh chemicals and pollutants when you're outside which is why using a protective and soothing moisturiser while going out is necessary. Kimirica's Five Elements Body Lotion comes with natural Aloe Vera extracts that act as a rich source of antioxidants and vitamins that helps protect your skin and provide a deep nourishing effect.

man in white crew neck t-shirt Moisturising the body in the morning sets your skin up to face countless irritants and environmental factors during the day. | Photo by The Creative Exchange on Unsplash

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