Posted November 23, 2017 by admin in Inspirational
 
 

How My Mother Illegally Crossed the Border


by Julissa Catalan

January 7, 2016

How My Mother Illegally Crossed the Border

How My Mother Illegally Crossed the Border

Abandoned by her mother at eight years old, married by 18, five children by 25, and with only an eighth-grade level education, my mother was jailed for a month after attempting to cross the Mexican border into the United States. She illegally, and successfully, crossed the border on her second try two years later. This is her story.

It was 1970 in Guatemala. To say my mother lived in poverty is an understatement.

PLUS: Unaccompanied Guatemalan Minors Forced to Work in Ohio Egg Farms

Si habia dinero para las tortillas, no habia para la leche. Si habia dinero para la leche, no habia para la mantequilla,” she remembers.

Her ultimate low point, however, was when she could no longer produce breast milk to feed her 3-month-old son. He was No. 5 of the children she had back to back.

My mother rationed the little she had, but the money wasn’t coming in. Her husband would tell her that although he was always working, his boss would not pay him. One day, out of desperation, she went directly to her husband’s boss, begging for his earnings so that she could buy milk for her starving baby.

Yo no se lo que su marido hace con el dinero, pero yo no le debo nada,” he told her.

The boss threw one quetzal (the equivalent of $0.13 cents) at her and told her not to return.

She was humiliated, and in that moment she vowed to never ask anyone — including her husband — for money again. Instead, she went to work, washing single men’s clothes, cleaning houses and selling wealthy people’s garbs.

Like many mothers, all she wanted in life was for her children to have everything she didn’t, particularly an education and financial stability.

A few weeks later, the opportunity toward the “American Dream” presented itself. A group of her friends — six women and two men — were planning on immigrating to the U.S. together. She decided to join them.

My mom left her baby and toddlers with my grandmother, promising to come back for them.


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