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I met Rosa at the bank I work at. She has always been friendly and quite open about herself and her children. I decided to use Rosa in this project because her eyes have always seemed to tell me an interesting story. This is her story:
“My first impression of America was hopeful.
Was always talked about while growing up and that this was the place Father sent his money from. I remember the day my father left for his new job. I didn’t know much about it I was only four at the time. But I do remember him saying to me, ‘Nina, America is the only place that I will be able to take care of my family.' I never saw my father again, but he wrote and sent my mother money for a little while, but it soon came to a stop. Men from the town said he died while farming some Gringos land. They didn’t give him enough water. I never planned on coming to America. I was needed here to take care of my family. My mother became really sick when I was 15. I was the oldest so I had to take care of her and my two brothers and one baby sister. I began working in bar down the street. I was pretty girl so I made pretty good money in tips. This was where I met Thomas. Many of the young American men would cross the border when they weren’t able to drink any more and come to my bar. I got pregnant at 17 and Thomas never came back over. My brothers and sister moved in with my Aunts after my mom finally passed away. It is still hard thinking about her. She was everything to our family.
When I was about seven month pregnant I decided to cross the
border. My family told me I shouldn’t do it, but I knew I had to for
my baby. A couple of the men planned on jumping that night so left
with them, with nothing but the clothes on my back and some
money hidden in my panties. I don't remember much about the long
deadly trek. I was so hot during the day and it would be really cold
at night. What I remember most was being so thirsty and tired I
thought I wasn’t going to be able to make it.
I remember I began to pray and pray for my
child’s life. Jesus talked me out of that
desert and my faith saved my life! I remember
the men carrying me most of the way. They probably wished I
would die, but they were probably too afraid of Gods fury is they
would have left me and my unborn child to die. It was in the
middle of the night when we finally crossed in to the America
border. The men had a van there waiting
to pick us up. There was about 30 men, woman, and one small
child. I talked mostly with the child but, most of the older adults
would tells us to be quiet. Everyone was really scared about being
caught. It would be so hard to be taken back to somewhere you
just risked your life to leave.
The Van stopped at a ranchers home. He was kind to me, I
couldn't say that about the rest of the men. I cleaned his house for
him and cooked his meals. He only hit me once. He liked his shirts
ironed a certain way, and still iron my husband, Santos, the same
way. I gave birth to my son in his house. I thought I was going to
die, but again I prayed myself out of that situation. He was real
kind to my son, and allowed him to go to school instead of working
him on the ranch. I lived with him for about 12 years.
I met Santos when I was 26, but he had to convince me real
hard to move away. My boss had been real kind and was able to
provide Jesus with an education and hot meal every day. I was
worried if I left we wouldn't be able to provide that for him. But I
have learned to trust love because it is a gift God had given me to
bring me to my right path. Santos was an American citizen so
when I married him I was able to apply for citizenship, which took a
very long time.
We moved to Phoenix in 1992 and Santos now owns his own
business. We have 4 children and my life is a blessing to me. Most
of my family live here now and my Aunts live with me now. God
has watched out for me, in the desert, on the birth bed and now I
just pray he does the same for my children.