Liena, 24, is from Sudan and currently lives in Silver Spring. “A lot has been happening in Sudan, but we’re kind of on the healing end of it,” she tells me. “We had a whole revolution; we overthrew the government.”
Even though Sudan’s surprising political transition occurred while Liena was living in the U.S., she feels very connected to it. It was an emotional time for her. Liena hopes that the authoritarianism that prevailed in Sudan for many years is finally a thing of the past.
She misses home. She used to go back every summer, although that’s become harder to do. She’s lived in the U.S. for most of her life. “Plus, since I spend a lot of my time here, a lot of my friends are here.” She tells me that the U.S. is also home for her.
She moved to the U.S. with her family when she was seven. “My dad wanted us to have a different life than we were living in Sudan,” she says.
Her family originally moved to Forestville, Maryland and subsequently came to the Silver Spring area. Liena’s also lived briefly in Chicago.
In addition to her father and mother, she has three brothers and a sister.
She’s worked at the Co-op since December 2018. She left briefly and then returned. She started out working as a cashier and now works in the Grocery Department.
She worked at Whole Foods in Silver Spring before the Co-op. For her, the best part about working at the Co-op is the people she works with. She says her colleagues are “super family-like.”
Liena’s also a student focusing on herbalism.
She has a lot of friends who live in the Takoma Park area and likes spending time here. She and her friends sometimes hang out on Main Street or visit Takoma Beverage Company. She appreciates the strong sense of community in Takoma Park.
She recently read and enjoyed “Life After Death” by Deepak Chopra. “I read that multiple times and was really into it,” she tells me. She says that the book is packed with useful information.
For her fantasy dinner party, she’d invite Chopra and the singer Sade.
Liena thoroughly enjoys Sudanese cuisine, yet has been eating more Ethiopian food in recent times. A lot of her friends are Ethiopian.
For a Co-op snack, she would grab either dried mangoes in the bulk section or a bag of Dallas Popcorn.
Liena likes visiting Spa World in Centreville, Virginia with her friends. She has fun spending time in the various poultice rooms. “The heat reminds me of Sudan.”
At the end of our conversation, Liena circles back to why she likes working at the Co-op. It’s not just the supportive staff; it’s the customers too. “I really enjoy talking to different customers, especially when I was working as a cashier,” she says.
“I’m really grateful for my experience here.”