Sandra

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English transcription of video:

Hi my name is Sandra.

I arrived in Tijuana. In Tijuana, my uncle’s sister-in-law picked us up. We only tried it one time, and on the first try we came. We arrived in Phoenix, and from there we went to Los Angeles. My other uncle, brother of my mom as well, picked us up in Phoenix. From there I was in Los Angeles for a year and a half. I was coming only for one year. But afterwards I would say, no how am I going to leave? They made me think; how was I going to leave if I hadn’t helped my mom enough?

So I said no, I’m not going to leave; I’m going to stay. But afterwards, my uncle and his wife, they had three children, I used to take care of them, and I would say no I don’t want to be here. From there, my dad was here in (the Bay Area). One day I told him, I don’t want to be with my uncle, I want to go with you over there. He told me that the woman with whom he works needed someone to take care of her kids. I said, okay I’ll take care of them. The woman went with my dad to pick me up in Los Angeles. They arrived in Los Angeles and I came to (the Bay Area) . I’ve been here for almost 17 years. I wanted a better life for my sister, who was the youngest.

I wanted her to go to school, to become better. To do the things that we, the eldest, we’re not able to do. We only went up to middle school, and she finished high school, thanks to- that we’re older than her. Well I have four siblings; we’re four women, and just one brother. None of them are here.  I’m here alone, but I’m not leaving because I have two daughters; one is 11, and Cynthia. I want something beautiful for my daughters; something that I didn’t have.

My oldest daughter might be able to achieve it because I tell her that she has to go to university. You have to reach the dream that neither your dad nor I did. She says, mommy you didn’t go to university? I tell her, no but you’re going to do it. My dream is going to be in you. That’s what I want for my daughter. I work.

Thank God, I can’t tell you that I speak perfect English, but I understand it. I speak it. At least now I can have a conversation, after almost 17 years here. I can’t say that I’m like other people who spend a whole life and only know the greeting and the goodbye.  I want to keep improving my English, so my daughter can tell me one day, mommy you speak English just like I do. I have her as a teacher because when I make a mistake in something, she corrects me. I feel happy when she introduces me to her teachers and she says, my mom doesn’t need translation, my mom knows English.

Before I did want to go back, not now. I want to stay here for my daughters. And also for my husband because if I leave, he’s not going to follow me. I’m happy. Like everyone else I’ve suffered because of the same thing; I don’t have papers, I don’t have a license, but I think that it’s not an impediment. If you want it, you can do it. You have to do it, for yourself or for your kids, but most importantly for yourself.  I think that that’s what one needs; to have our own children and at least help them. I was rebellious, but I can’t say that I was a bad daughter, because to this day, if they are in need, here I am. Even if I have my family, my mom and dad can count on me.

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