Jose Melara, 45, founder of Cyber Web Latino. His story appears on page two. Credit: Photo by Erick Gibson

Lene Tsegaye

Co-owner of Kefa Café
From: Ethiopia
Resident of: Silver Spring
Immigrated: 1983

I came here when I was 15 or 16 years old to finish school. It was our brother’s idea to open [Kefa Cafe]. Our family had a coffee shop in Ethiopia. I guess I have had that in the back of my head. It’s in our culture to work together, to have a family business.

Our goal was to create a place like at home, where you feel comfortable. In Ethiopia, coffee is a socializing occasion; they have it three times a day. It’s a time for gossip and talking. Here, people see themselves more as individuals. But as people, we need human connection. That’s what we’re trying to create here.

I go back to Ethiopia, but not that often—it’s expensive. Here is home, Ethiopia is home. I feel comfortable in both. I feel lucky to have two places as my home. (As told to Anya Grenier)