Inspired by the international organization "This I Believe," students at Madison Park High School wrote about their personal journeys describing the core values that guide their everyday lives.
When I was in El Salvador, I was one of the millions of immigrants that left their country because of violence and maras (gangs) in order to come for a better future.
My grandmother, my two older sisters and I were part of the thousands of people that were threatened by the maras and afraid to go out. It happened when I was twelve years old. I was in sixth grade and I had to leave school in the middle of the year. Some people had already told us that where they lived, people were killed because they did not pay the bribes that the mareros asked for. My grandma told the police officers about that, and when she went to deposit the “fake money” where the mareros had told her, she went with the police officers. I was in my other grandma’s house with my sisters. I was afraid that something bad would happen, but the mareros did not go to the place. Then, after two days we left the state.
After two months my mom and father decided that me and my sisters would come to the United States. At first, I was happy because I had not seen them for 10 years. They had come earlier, my father when I was in my mom’s belly and my mother when I was two years old. At the same time, I was upset because I did not get to say goodbye to my friends and other family members.
My mom told my older sister to come to the United States first. My grandma asked her friends if they knew a “coyote” and one of them said yes. After two days, my sister put two pairs of clothes and two pairs of shoes in her backpack, and the owners of the house where we were living threw a party for her. After my sister left, my mom told us to come to the United States.
In a few days, my other sister and I started to pack our clothes. In the evening, we had left the country and were in Guatemala with two coyotes, one man and one older woman. At first I was scared, but they gave us food and we went to parties with them like normal.
In Guatemala, the coyotes owned a house in the country. We were there three days, and after the days passed I was feeling different -- I was feeling trust. Then we left. We were in the frontera, Rio Bravo between Mexico and Guatemala. We passed through the Rio Bravo in llanta, we had to stand up. Then we were in Oaxaca, Mexico. We waited for a bus, to go to another bus station. We waited three hours for the bus to approach, and then we passed through Chihuahua, Monterey and other states in Mexico. Then we were in Tijuana. After some days we passed la frontera between Mexico and the United States, but the migra got us and left us in a shelter with immigrants of different countries. It was in San Diego, California.
In the shelter, the food was not good, the ham for lunch was frozen. Sometimes they did not give us food, just twice or once a day. And it was so cold, we did not even know if it was day or night. In the evenings, the police officers put on a movie for the children, Yogi Bear.
After three days my mom bought plane tickets. A police officer took us to the airport and helped us because we did not speak English. We arrived in Boston, Massachusettes at 6:45 a.m. My mom, aunts, and uncle were waiting for us at the airport, and my cousin that lives in Washington D.C. came to Boston to see us.
I think that everyone deserves a chance in this country because this country is the American Dream of Hispanic people.