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Cutting Jeans

Sacrifices, Sadness & Success

Written by A.A., Class 8R2

It was a bright and hot sunny day in Ecuador. My mother was in the 11th grade at a high school for fashion industries. She was sitting at lunch when she got a bright idea.


She got home and said “Mom, I want to go to the US. I barely make money and it's so hard for me to maintain a job. In the US I could work in factories and make clothes. It's my dream!”

My grandmother said “It's a great idea but you should think it through. You were born here so going to the US you would never come back and see us.” 

Discouraged as my mother was, a small bit of her still wanted to go. The next day she said, “I'm going to the US!” My grandmother was very hurt and spent that last day thinking about how she would cope with the terrible news. After many minutes of pure disbelief, she thought on the bright side and was very proud that my mother was growing up and wanted to make a living for herself. The last day my mother and grandmother spent the day together was in September. She packed her things, said goodbye to my grandmother, and met up with the people she was immigrating with to the US. An organization had paired her up with a group of teens her age and they took a car for 12 hours all the way to Colombia. During this time my mother was able to get a tourist visa and decided to make a pit stop and travel around, so she took a plane from Colombia to the Panama Canal. Being on a plane for the first time excited my mother because it was a new experience. During the time she traveled, she made friends with the people in that group.  Her visa had expired while in Panama, then the visa expired so they hid for 7 days and afterward she was back on track to get to America.


It was now the beginning of October and it was getting colder in the US. Although it was October, in Mexico it was very humid and hot because they were in a desert. After weeks of traveling, she had made it to the Rio Bravo in Mexico. All Hispanics called the Rio Grande the “Rio Bravo” because of how rough the water was. The river had big, loud, and angry waves of water and was most known as the place most people died while immigrating. This river was long and seemed never-ending. The dirt filled her shoes and the cold waves of the river crashed upon her ankles. As she walked into the powerful river with soaring waters she knew this wasn't going to be an easy task to accomplish. As she walked further and further into the raging waters, the water had been going higher and higher to the point it touched her mouth. The panic kicked in as she walked desperately to the other side despite being pushed around like a plastic bag in the wind. The water was thick and she was afraid she would drown. She thought about her mother in Ecuador and knew if she died here the news would never reach her mom. So she fought to make it to the other side. Although my mother knew it was best to stay calm in these waters she still hurriedly swam her way to the other side. She was fully submerged in the water and swam because her life depended on it. She slowly felt the icy cold water go down and she kept swimming. Her feet now touched the grainy dirt at the bottom of the river as she felt arms pick her up onto her feet. She had made it over this river safely.

They said, “Are you ok?”  

She said, “Yeah, just shaken up.” 

“Great, let's continue,” they said, with the sound of relief in their voice.

They made it to the border and with some help they climbed over it. The group then scattered and ran under bushes, dirt, small trees, grass, and anything to prevent the border patrol from catching them.


My mother thought, “If they catch me now, crossing the river would have not been worth it.”


My mother ran under bushes and hid like prey with a predator coming after her. They made it to a small town where people were waiting for her to give her food and shelter till the next day. These people took care of her and gave her new resources to help with the trip through the US.  They then went to the US and the first state they went into is Brownsville, Texas. 

My mother said, “Thank you so much for driving us all this way!” They drove for the next month passing 6-7 states. The drive was long and it was cold. My mother had only had summer clothes on because of how hot it had been in Central and South America during that time. They made it to NY and she passed by the Statue of Liberty and the beautiful buildings and lights. My Mother said goodbye to the group of people and they all went their separate ways.

It was December 16th and the cold wind blew against her face as she walked on the streets of New York in Manhattan.


She contacted her Mother and said, “I made it Mom!” Her family was waiting for her and took her into their home.


They asked, “How did it go?” My mom told them she passed the river successfully and they were all very proud of her.


After a week of staying in their home, she still didn't feel at home. This new place had a different lifestyle than her life before. She called my grandmother every day telling her about what she did every day and her regret started to set in. Thankfully her family had friends who worked in a costume-making factory and they had talked to the owners recommending my mom. So as relieved and excited as my mom was, she went to the factory and introduced herself. She was then accepted to work there and made Halloween costumes for popular stores. She then made enough money and during the process met my dad. They got an apartment in Queens and lived there as they both made money. After 2 years the factory shut down and their apartment was no longer safe to live in so they had to find a new apartment and my mother had to find a new place to work in. They tried many apartments but they were all expensive and unsafe. After reaching out to many people, one of her friends from her old factory reached out to her and told her about a new factory where she would most likely want to work.

She then got accepted to work in that factory that made baby clothes and she worked there for the next 12 years. She made many friendships in the factory and found many friends there even though some were rude to her. She loved her job there and they were like her family.


She always thanked them by saying “Thank you for being such great friends to me!”


They said, “Of course!”


Then my Mother and Father found an apartment in the Bronx and lived there for the next year. They then had me and my mom had to leave the factory to take care of me and become a stay-at-home mom. They both moved back to Queens with my family and raised me. She then found herself loving the idea of becoming a babysitter as a job. She then started babysitting many kids and loved being around kids. Babysitting had many benefits for her such as taking care of me while taking care of other kids, having more time to run errands, and much more. So she babysat for the next 10 years and even does it now.


My mother's journey of immigrating here and creating a life, providing for herself, going through tough times and even being brave and crossing the border has been all worth it and now she has a loving family here in NY.  All the sacrifices done by her led to many positive and negative actions throughout this journey. She accomplished a big challenge getting here by even leading to the sadness of her grandmother because it was all worth it in the end.

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