The sun fell down over us as if it hates us. I must walk around twenty miles every day under a blistering sun from my town to the closest city. I am the oldest of four siblings, we were orphans. We were born in a small land in South America. Also, we were poor people devastated by poverty and the war. We lived in a hut. My siblings and I must seek in the trashcan for something to eat, such as; vegetable waste and restaurant left overs. Every single day for us was a time to survive only. I was a child with a sole purpose…find something to eat. I learned early to suffer but didn’t care for the physical pain like blister in my small foot, to be thirsty and walked thought a road full of stickers, rocks, hot sand, etc. I grew up feeling the enormous weight of the responsibility to take care of my unique family on my young shoulders. I felt like a cement rock in my back. Under those circumstances I was a child who didn’t know to smile; I didn’t have the hope to have a different kind of life.
One day, when I was a teenager I found that my poor house was burned down for an unknown reason. I remember I was devastated. I wanted to die and that my siblings die too. But the power of love by my family shot me with enough courage to look to a new horizon. I had nothing that kept me in my poor world. I had to leave not only my land, but my country too. We traveled to South of Mexico where I was still doing whatever to give a less terrible life to my family. However I did not have the opportunity to study. Hiding inside myself, a voice shouted at me that I must improve my mind and my education.
At that time, I have always thought that God didn’t know us or maybe he had forgotten about our existence, but one day, I met a man, who’s now my husband. He is an American soldier. He brought me to this wonderful country. He reminded me that I must get a school education. I have been studying at Ysleta Community Learning Center in El Paso, Texas, for the last year. My teacher was Liz Moya, she taught me, not only English; she taught me my first writing words. Why? Believe it or not I was illiterate. I didn’t know to read or write. I feels so bad about it. I was depressed about myself. That’s why I’m studying, even though that I was thirty-two years old. Before I began to study, I didn’t go out because I was afraid to lose my way home. I didn’t know to read any signs. I never could sign any written communication with anybody. Can you imagine how I felt when my husband must travel? I felt terrible anxiety, emotional painful, and stressed.
First of all, sometimes teachers sent me information, warnings, records, bulletins, etc about my children-the oldest is six and the youngest is five years old. In those moments I had bad thoughts, believe me, sometimes the suicide idea crossed my mind, but at the same time I thought that everything has a solution, so I began looking for an adequate school for me.
Second, I could not check the mail. I always was asking for help in each of those things. That’s why right now I’m studying. I want to have my chin up in front of my two children and my husband. I want that they be proud of me. Now I have a lot of dreams and hopes. Every person must learn about their life. I learned that education is the light of your development. Today I’m fine to go outside my home. I did my first step, learn to Speak English and learn to write and read. It is not easy; it’s a hard and long way. However step by step I’m doing that. Yes, it’s true a lot times I felt frustrated, but I’m convinced that I must to do for all my family.
My biggest dream is some day to go back to my country and help the poor people to receive education, because it is the most important way to give ourselves power… the power to be strong, power of not to be shy at all about your origin, power to break the fear by accomplishing your dreams, power to live better every day. Finally, the most important is to have the power to develop your self worth. During my time that I was not studying, I felt blind in a world of knowledge.
This story is based on my friend’s life.
The name of the countries named have been changed.
I am Sonia G. Apodaca. I have been living in El Paso, Texas since 2000. Actually my life has changes, so, I believe that I must continue studying. Right now I feel more confident. I know that I need more steps in my education, but I can do it. I admire every adult that is studying whatever subject, because we must be a good example for the next generations. We can teach them the value and the power that education gives. If you are an adult you can continue your studies, or begin, please do it. If I’m doing it, you can do it too.