Maria, my mother, has always been a driven and diligent person. She was raised in a small Mexican town. She was living in Mexico City where chances of getting educated were little to none because daily life was challenging. The reason life was so hard was because her family was very poor and had no money for anything. She had to walk to school and sometimes didn’t have money for food or clothes, and at school she was made fun of for not having money. Despite this, she was content with living life to the fullest and was going to build a brighter future for her family. She was aware of the little chances open to her in the town as she grew older. She wanted to improve her life and the lives of others she cared about, so she knew she had to find a way to break the cycle of poverty and after much thought, finally decided to leave her home and enter the United States. She made the difficult choice to leave her home country.
Her journey to the U.S. – 30 years ago – was torturous and long, and she encountered numerous obstacles and risks along the way. With few resources, extreme heat, and a continual possibility of danger from ICE and other desert dangers, she had to go for days through tough desert terrain. Despite this, she remained committed to her objective and finally crossed the border after several weeks of travel. She was hungry and worn out, but she knew she had to keep going. She crossed the border and came into the United States in search of employment and a fresh start. As she grew accustomed to her surroundings, she found a job at a fast food outlet. The challenges of being away from her family and specifically her ill mother caused her a lot of stress. She hoped to be able to return home and take care of her mother because she desperately missed her family, but she also understood that she had a duty to persevere to build her and my family’s future. Although she tried her best, she was unable to visit her mother before she passed away because she crossed the border illegally. The news crushed her, and she felt bad that she couldn’t be with her mother in her last moments. She struggled to accept the truth that she had died, and she felt a great feeling of loss and despair, knowing that she could never see her mother again.
Maria was determined to respect her mother’s memory and to keep working hard to improve things for herself and my family as she made an effort to move forward. She took on any job she could find, like cleaning and working at fast food places putting in extra time and effort to put money aside and improve her and my family’s quality of life. In the end, her perseverance paid off since she was able to save enough money to support her family while also taking care of me and my sisters and ensuring our future. She was aware that her mother would be proud of her. Now life for my mom is good. All the hard work she put in finally paid off. She bought a house and married my dad. Even though they ended up getting a divorce, she still works hard everyday and reminds me to reach my goals and to never give up on my dreams, and that even though something may look impossible, to try and make it possible. She is one of the people that I look up to the most because she went from having nothing to having a whole family and did so with hard work, pushing through times that looked impossible to create a better life. She is what I call the indomitable human spirit.
An interview and this write up were done by a high school student in East Palo Alto, California.