The Experience That Changed My Life (El Salvador)

My life was so difficult in my country, I was really poor and didnt have alot of money which made me be more humble. The love that I had for my family made me decide to travel to the U.S.

When I was in El Salvador, my life was really different than now. I had 11 siblings, 8 brothers, and 3 sisters. I was really poor, most of the time I will be walking or playing with my friends without shoes. I was poor because most of the time we didn’t have food to eat. There were days where I will just eat one time per day. 

Most of my siblings were born during the civil war. It was hard for me because the only thing I will think about was that I’ll probably die. I remember a lot of things that people will say. Some people will say, “Todos Vamos a morir.” (Everyone is going to die). I will also hear the bombs falling from the air. I will also see people getting kill by the soldiers. My dad was one of the leaders in the war of one of our group, but we will still suffer. 

It will be sad for me to see my mom taking care of all of my brothers. After the war ended my life was more fun. I played with my friends most of the time. Also, I had a good relationship with my parents. My parents were the only people I will trust. 

When I was 17 years old I will work in a city called Armenia. I will work by helping my dad sell salt. It was really tiring for me working with my dad because I would have to wake up really early. I would have to wake up around 4:45 am. We were supposed to be in Armenia around 6:30 am and that’s the reason I would have to wake up so early. 

One day I was working with my brother, it was around 10:45 am and I saw a cute girl that was buying some pupusas. My brother told me, “Ve y hablale a esa joven de allí.” (Go talk to that young girl right there). I went to her and I started talking to her. I asked her, “Where do you live?” She answered, “I live in San Isidro”

Around 12:20 pm she left and I gave her a hug. After that, we started a relationship as friends and after we became a couple. Many days had passed and we decided to get married.

When I married the love of my life, we both decided that we want a good life for our kids. My wife told me, “La vida mis hijos tiene que ser diferente a la de nosotros.” I responded to her “Yo haré lo que pueda hacer.” (I will try my best and I will put a lot of effort). When she told me those sentences, I only thought of traveling to los Estados Unidos (USA). My son was about to be born so my wife had to stay in El Salvador. 

My wife was pregnant so it was really hard for me that I would not be able to see my son being born. I was really sad the night before I was about to leave. I told my parents, “Me voy para Los Estados Unidos pero nunca los voy a olvidar.” (I’m leaving to the U.S. but I will never forget you.)

On Tuesday night at 9 PM, one of the people that were going to help me get to the U.S. came to my house. I said to my family, “Los voy a extrañar mucho”. (I’m going to miss you guys a lot) My wife knew that this was a tough decision for everyone. 

The next day one of the coyotes took me to Guatemala. When I was in Guatemala I stayed there for 3 days. There was a different culture in Guatemala, the food was different some of their languages were different and I wasn’t able to communicate with my family, so it was really hard for me to not be with my family. 

When I was in Mexico, I will see and hear a lot of killings around me. Sometimes I will be sleep and I will hear the shots in the streets. A lot of the days I didn’t feel safe being in Mexico. A lot of times I will see la migra (border patrol) in our way. 

I was in a truck for 3 days without anywhere to stop and sleep. Some of the people inside of the truck will say, “Hay viene la migra.” Dios protégeme de la migra por favor.”  (Immigration is coming.) I will have to sleep inside of the truck and eat there every single day. The conditions of the truck weren’t bad. It had A/C and the heater so it was tolerable. 

It took me 1 month to get to the USA. It was not as long as I thought it was going to be

I was able to cross the border by going under a tunnel. My wife was about to have a kid in El Salvador. 

When I arrived on May 25, 2003, I was with my friends in East Palo Alto. My first time going to In-n-out I was able to smell the hamburger and taste the juice meat. I felt so good after eating that hamburger. East Palo Alto was the first city that I  when I came to the USA. My first job was working in a restaurant in Palo Alto. 

One of my obstacles was not knowing English and also not having my family closed to me. 

Sometimes I will hear in the news the bad things are happening en la Frontera (the border) de México. When I came here, there was some delinquency around East Palo Alto. When I first got here it was a totally different life. There was a different life in the USA. 

Now my life is different, thanks to God I have my family here and my residence. One of my kids is studying at Eastside College Prep. 

My happiest moment in the USA was I was able to see my son for the first time. Now I can see my kids grow up and be someone in life. All I want is to see my kids to graduate from college and be someone in life.

This story is based on an interview by a student at Eastside College Prep.

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