Stories for Liberation: Why We Decide to Emigrate

(Painting by Gwynne Duncan)

Many times, economic difficulties can affect not only the union but also the emotional interactions between members of families, victims of poverty. This is true, especially with the most fragile, the children.

In this short story, a young man tells us how the separation of his parents, his mother’s hostility and his lack of opportunities, affected his life in such a way that led him to make the decision to emigrate on his own, as a child, with the help of a Good Samaritan, to the United States.

Why We Decide to Emigrate

One of my dreams was to leave my country, because in my country I had a bad life. A life that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I grew up without the love of a mother and father. I noticed that my mother had changed, she scolded me for almost anything. I never thought that she would do that. I thought she cared, but as time passed I realized that it was not like that. That’s when I made the decision to go live with my grandmother. She was the only one who took care of me. She always told me that as long as she was here, she would take care of me. However, when I turned 10, my grandmother died. It was so hard for me. I spent a day and night crying, because I had lost the one person who really loved me.

The next day my mother took me to her house and told me: “Now you will leave school and start working.” I told her that school was the key to a better life. My mother answered, “Your grandmother died, now you will do what I say.”  So I worked until I was 15 years old. All the money I earned was taken away from me. I worked every day in the mountains, clearing the land for farming and spreading seeds of corn and beans. I felt tired. I couldn’t continue like that.

One day while I was at work, a car pulled next to me. It was a man. He said to me: “I see you every day around here come in the car and I’ll take you to your house.” I was scared, but I got in the car and told him what was happening with me. Amazed, the gentleman told me that he didn’t understand how there were still people like that. Then he said: “If you want, you can come to my house, or if you need a favor just ask.” Scared I told him: “Let me think about it.”

One day, I heard my mother talking to a neighbor about my father who was already in the United States. I began to think that if I had more money I could finally get to meet my father. The next day, I went back to find the man and asked him to loan me money to travel to the United States. He told me: “It’s too much money, but seeing your situation I will be very happy to make arrangements with a friend who can help you.”

After a week the gentleman arrived and asked me if I was ready. Without thinking, I said “yes.” That’s how I made the decision that would change my life. At last, I was able to meet my father who I had never met. He explained to me why he abandoned us. I did not worry about that because I knew that my life was going to change in a way that I could not even imagine.


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