Stories For Liberation: I Have To Continue My Journey

(Painting/"I Have To Continue My Journey Going Back In Time"/Gwynne Duncan)

This week’s story is featured in Herstory Writers Workshop’s recently published Brave Journeys, a collection of poignant, first-hand accounts of immigrating to the United States. More information can be found here.

I Have To Continue My Journey
Going Back In Time…

It was a day like any other. I was coming from school, it was 4 o’clock. I had the habit of eating when I got home, watching TV and talking with my mom. On that occasion, she told me my sister asked her if I wanted to go to the United States. Honestly, I was happy, but when I lay in bed, I thought about everything I’d leave behind.

I talked about this with my friends. One of them told me I was a great friend and that I wasn’t leaving them behind. I told him that was a very complicated decision for me. Another friend cheered me on, but all I could think of was what I was leaving behind: my home and the people that saw me grow up.

Days passed and my mom asked me a week before I was to leave my country, El Salvador, what I thought. She said I had to travel April 16.

Those days before the trip were hard for me. I didn’t know what to say. I talked to my mom and said, “Mom, I’ll go, but I don’t want to leave you. You are very special in my life, to leave the woman who gave me life, who carried me in her womb for nine months and never cared how she looked.”

It hurts to leave behind the person who truly loves you to death.

The day before my trip, my mom, who’s the best, made a delicious meal: chicken, salad and rice. It made me happy to see my family happy that day, as we all ate together.

The next day was the day I had to leave her. But life is like that, you cry and you laugh.

It was a hard day when I had to say goodbye to my family. Between tears in my eyes I told my mom how much I appreciated her. Crying, she said goodbye to me, giving me a kiss on the forehead. I felt sad leaving the most important part of my life behind; but what I had decided was for a better life.

The man came to pick me up at home. With much pain and many tears, we all said goodbye.

On the way, I was very sad. Another friend who was making the trip with me was sad like me. They took us to a place called San Miguel, where all 10 of us would meet. We were all sad. Two of them were leaving their children. Others, like me, were leaving their parents.

An hour later, we had breakfast so we could travel. We looked for the bus that would take us to San Salvador. It was a 10-hour trip. When we arrived we’d meet with the wife of the man who was bringing us.

We formed two groups. We’d meet back up at the border of El Salvador and Guatemala. We traveled for about eight hours. We arrived very late. We stayed in a hotel to be able to travel early the next morning.

A man that was traveling with me lent me his cell phone so I could call my mom. It made me so happy to hear her beautiful voice. She spoke to me as she was crying: if I wanted to, I could come back. But no, I left for a good future – which I have today. I told her I had to continue on my journey.

It was time to sleep. I really missed hearing my mother’s voice, seeing all the animals. I missed listening to her talk.

2 a.m: I got up to shower and put some fresh clothes on. I thought a lot about returning home or continuing. I made the decision to continue the journey.

“Are you ready?” said the man who was bringing us.

“Yes,” we all answered.

They put us in a van where we were all very uncomfortable. We had little room to move around. Some police stopped us. The man who was bringing us got out of the car to try to fix things. I managed to see he gave him money.

We got to the station where we were going to wait for another car that would take us to a place called Chiquimula.

That’s how this very long journey began.

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