Tesfu Weldu has survived political persecution in his homeland, relocation to the United States and made his way up the ladder at the University of Minnesota. It’s been a long road, but Weldu is happy to be one of the newest Custodial Supervisors.
“This is the land of opportunity,” says Weldu. “In America, if you want to be good, you can be good. It’s up to you. I really appreciate what I am doing and that I am here now.”
Born in the country of Eritrea in East Africa, Weldu grew up competing as a swimmer and enjoying a comfortable lifestyle. His father worked for Ethiopian Airlines and the family was fortunate enough to travel some before having to leave the country.
Due to a struggle for power in the newly independent Eritrea in the early 1990’s, Weldu’s father was killed and his family’s possessions seized. He finished High School and began taking college courses before leaving the country for Sudan, at his mother’s suggestion in 1993. While in Sudan, Weldu’s wife, Freweini, arranged for her sister in Minnesota to sponsor the two of them for refugee status in the U.S.
Just two months after arriving in Minnesota, in July of 1993, the young couple gave birth to their first of three sons. Weldu began classes at St. Paul Tech that same month, but stopped attending after he landed a position as a B&G worker with the University of Minnesota in May 1994.
He worked for nine years as a B&G worker, while he and his wife raised their young children. Weldu became a Senior B&G worker in 2003, a role that put him in position to learn how to train fellow B&G workers and catch the attention of one of the Operations Supervisors, Paul Drews.
“He’s just anxious to learn,” commented Drews of Weldu’s work ethic. “He makes my job so much more fun.”
In his free time, Weldu loves playing basketball with his sons and competes on an Eritrean soccer team that travels each year to a tournament for Eritrean soccer teams from around the U.S. Weldu wants his sons to have an understanding of where he came from and how good it is to live in the U.S., so he sends them and their mother to visit Eritrea once every two or three years.
After spending the last 14 years in the Health Sciences District and has no plans to leave anytime soon.
“I love this place,” says Weldu. “I have really good relationships with the customers and have known most of them for a long time.”