This Is My Story

by Jose Flores

(palm hut drawing)I'm from El Salvador. I'm 16 years old and I have three brothers and two sisters. Now I live with my two parents, but it was not always like that.

In 1980, I was born in my grandmother's house. My mother didn't go to the hospital because in those times they didn't have enough money to pay for the hospital. My father worked for a rich old lady. He worked taking care of a lot of cows. He milked the cows and killed the cows for meat. When I was four years old he took me to work with him. He taught me how to milk the cows and how to kill the cows for meat. He also taught me how to handle the horses. It was very fun, especially when the horse ran very fast. We also worked planting lots of corn but I didn't like it because it was very hard work and the sun was very hot. My father taught me how to make cheese, cream and cuajada. It was very good. that was my favorite food. Sometimes he took me to hunt animals and that was my favorite because I like to kill a lot of birds and rabbits. We also went to the river to fish. All the animals were killed for food and it was very delicious.

When I was six years old my father put me in school. My first day I was very scared because my other friends told me that the teachers hit you if you don't pay attention or if you don't obey them. I only went to school for one year because I didn't like it. I didn't like how the teachers treat you so I preferred working with my father taking care of all the cows and pigs. When I was seven years old my dad came to this country. I was so sad that I cried a lot because I love him a lot. My mother was sad too. The next morning I went with my younger brother to do the work that my dad did. It was hard for us. Before my dad left, he told me that from then on, I was the man at home. He told me to take care of my mother and I said yes.

In 1989 we moved into my grandmother's house. Carmen, my oldest sister, worked very hard. She helped my mother take care of me when I was born. She helped my mother cook a lot. I really like when my mother and sister cook because they make very delicious food. I didn't want to move because I liked our house. It was surrounded with a lot of fruit trees and the river was very close. It also had a very big yard that you could play in. My favorite thing was playing with my three dogs and riding horses. When we got to my grandmother's house she told us where we were going to sleep. She was very nice.

When my father started working he sent us three hundred dollars per month. One day my father wrote a letter to my mother saying that he wanted to bring my mother to America. She said she wanted to go. The day that she was going to leave was a Friday. She went to my grandmother's house on Thursday so she could leave in the morning. My mother didn't even want to see us because she knew that I was going to cry and I was going to want to go with her.

One month later, my mother got to the United States with my father. We stayed with my grandmother for six years. During that time we worked very hard because I helped my grandfather doing a lot of work that my father taught me. The six years passed and then we got a letter from them saying they were going to come visit and they had a surprise for us. We were so happy. When they arrived at the airport we saw that the surprise was a sister and another brother. The other surprise was that they said we were going to the United States also. I was a little happy and a little sad because I love my grandparents a lot and I would miss my friends.

My parents stayed in El Salvador for one month. They were so happy because they could see us and we were going to be together forever. They wanted to bring us to the United States for a better education and a better life. I was so happy that I was going to go to school and learn another language. The day came to leave and my grandparents were crying for us. I was scared to get in the airplane because it was my first time but I relaxed and ate in the airplane. When we got to the airport my uncles were waiting for us and I was so happy to see them. They had changed a lot.

When we got out of the airport I saw a very different country because I saw lot of light all around. My parents took us home to live in an apartment. The second week my mother put us in school. I was scared because I didn't know how to speak English. They put me in sixth grade. The first day I went to school the teachers were really nice. They knew how to speak Spanish and for that I was happy. I enjoyed school. The first day the teacher took me to the cafeteria to eat. The food was good. Then the teachers took me outside and I met a friend. His name was Marvin and played soccer together.

This is how my life started in the United States. Now we are all living together.

Copyright © 1998, Silver International, Montgomery Blair H.S., Silver Spring, MD USA

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