Migrating to the United States

Diciendo los Adios
Saying Goodbyes

My father never knew how much I loved going to work in the fields and earning my own money. I worked picking potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, onions, pickles, and nuts in the fields. One always learned something new that way rather than just doing the same thing over and over again in his ranch. I always wished to do more with my life.

We were also in a situation of very low resources, and my father got very ill. Since it wasn’t harvest season, we did not have a lot of money to pay the doctor. I was talking with my sister and the idea of me going to the United States came up. I told her that she could stay here and take care of our dad, and I said, “Well, I’ll go and get to know the place, and I will see how things are over there.” When I first told my dad, he wasn’t too pleased with the idea. He didn’t want me to go, but I told him that I was going to go with or without his permission. He told me, “I don’t have any money.” And, I told him, “Oh, no. I have money.”

Mirtha having dinner with her dad.

Mirtha having dinner with her dad before she left.

I had saved up money I earned and from the allowances he had given us. Eventually, he told me, “Well, if you’re still going to go, I don’t want you to go like that. You will have my permission.” And, he gave me his blessing and said, “Que le vaya bien.” (I hope all goes well for you). I told him thanks, and I couldn’t believe it.

Afterwards, I went to Aldama to say farewell to my mom. I went and told her that I would be leaving, and she started crying, but at the same time she was happy because I was going to go with her brother who lived in the United States. She was very sad and didn’t let me come alone to the border. She came with me, and I was very scared for her because I had heard that Juarez was a very dangerous place. I was scared that she would come alone. Once her brother and I were about to leave, she told him to take good care of me, gave me her blessing and cried. I also cried. Even up to today, she says that the eagle came and robbed her little chick.

Leaving was hard because I knew I was leaving them all behind. My mom, my dad, and all of my siblings. I felt horrible.

El Viaje
The Journey

I came to the United States twice. When I first came, I was alone. My two brothers and five sisters stayed in Chihuahua. When one comes here, to a completely unknown place and you look everywhere, you feel much more lonely.

The first time I came here, I came with my aunt was easily able to get into the country legally. It was very simple. Then I stayed here for about three and a half years and came back to Mexico for three weeks. The second time I came back, I had to look for someone to help me pass the border. The journey was very short, I passed by the black rocks and we just walked around some areas for about ten minutes until we arrived at Wal-Mart and from there, someone came with a taxi and took us to a house to rest. The following day, they brough us to Pheonix and from Pheonix we flew by plane to Denver and I eventually came to Carbondale, Colorado. I only went to Colorado because that’s where at least someone knew me. We kept on going to visit her family, and going from house to house. At one point after two days, I was getting a little anxious. I asked her when we were going to arrive. She told me, “Mirtha, this is my house.” I laughed and told her, “Oh, I thought that we still had another house to go to!”

Once I got there, everything was an unknown world. I looked to my right and to my left, and I felt lonelier each and every time. After seven months, I was able to get work here and send them money so that they could be better off. Thank God I was able to make it.