Cross-posted at My Ongoing Struggle with Misanthropy

Photo credit: gerson721

Part III of Angie Sánchez’s “Coming to America Story.”  (See Part I and Part II).

Mojada III

It took us about 2 hours to cross the border and once we were on American soil I felt relieved.  We were taken to a coffee shop in San Isidro.  We were supposed to wait here for my mom and for my grandparents to pick us up.  My sister and I arrived at the coffee shop at about one in the afternoon or so and we were there for about five hours waiting to be reunited with my mom.  It took longer for my mom to cross the border because the finger prints on the green card did not match hers. Obviously, it did not belong to her. So she kept getting sent back and on top of that she had to wait in line over again.  While at the coffee shop the coyote, Gerardo, we originally met earlier that day met there with us.  He was taking care of us while my mom crossed.  The first hour we were there I was fine; I was excited that I was in a new country. But as time went by I began to get a little scared and miss my mom.  I kept praying to God that this man was not going to kidnap us or harm us.  I had seen many commercials warning parents and kids about kidnappers so I was paranoid at the thought of it.  To make matters worse my sister Guadalupe started to ask about mom and I didn’t know what to tell her except for, she’ll be here soon.  Her cries made me so scared that I wanted to cry too, but I kept telling myself that I had to be strong for her.  I don’t remember ever being so lost and sad in my life.  Imagine sitting in a coffee shop holding your scared little sister’s hand as she keeps asking, where is momma? And you as a 9 year old who is just as scared and wondering the same thing, has no answer. I managed to keep her calm and I tried distracting her by offering sweets and showing her the cakes and doughnuts inside the cases. That worked for a little bit.

The Coyote was on and off the phone keeping updated with my mom’s status and finally the last phone call he received, which was around six and that was to tell him that my mom had crossed.  I was so happy when he told me and right then and there I knew my sister and I were going to be fine.  We left the coffee shop and walked two blocks to a grocery store where we met our mom.  A few minutes later my grandparents showed up to pick us up. The whole ordeal of crossing on our own and being without our mom by our side was horrific.  It was an experience that has marked my life forever.  I am thankful that I did not have to swim across the Rio Grande or walk through the desert like many other immigrants do, but none the less it was frightening. We paid the Coyotes a total of $3000 to cross.


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Jimmy Gabacho

Gabacho– according to the Dictionary of the Spanish Royal Academy– is derived from an old Provençal word “gavach,” meaning a person from the foothills of the Pyrenees who spoke incorrectly. These days, it means “outsider,” somebody who just doesn’t fit in.

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