Central American Children: In Their Own Words
SAN BENITO – As thousands of migrants wait in Mexico to cross into the United States, many are settling into a new country.
Two young sisters from Central America are staying at a shelter, La Posada Providencia in San Benito.
They share their story of their first steps in a new country; they tell it in their own words.
“Everything is completely different, the roads, the places,” recalls the older sister.
She's attending a high school in San Benito.
Her younger sister in middle school says, "All the kids at school speak English. So, it's been hard for me to adapt. It's like having another life. It took about a week for me start feeling good; I started adapting. So, I was able to make friends."
"But I'm a little timid," the older sister admits. "I'm not very sociable."
She recalls her home back in her country.
"My house was two-stories high. It was a bit far from school, my sister and I would travel on a motorcycle to school every day. It was fun, because sometimes I would drive or sometimes she would when we would come from school."
"When we left our country, my mom said we would be missing a year of school," explains the little sister. "But my sister and I should think of it like a trip, like an adventure where we would get to know a lot places. Sometimes I start to think I want to be back home, because I miss my dad a lot."
Her sister adds, "My dad was sad, but at the same time he said if we wanted to go he would be in agreement; he couldn’t do anything about it."
"Well, right now, we don't feel so bad, because since we're staying at this shelter we get to know a lot of people," says the younger sibling. "Every person has a story, and when you hear it you think 'wow', because God brought us here safely, but they had to cross through rivers and mountains."
There are difficult times for her, she admits, but she forges a path ahead.
"Sometimes I start to think I have to keep going, because my mom had to make a great effort to bring me all the way over here," she says.
The older sister recalls a few weeks ago when their journey took them to the northern point of Tamaulipas along the Texas border.
"We were at a shelter in Reynosa which is called Senda de Vida," said the older girl. "My mom was in charge of the clothing storehouse. She was in charge of giving clothes to those newly arrived. Some of them would show up beat up at the shelter."
The younger sister says she's narrowing her sights on school, "Right now, I'm focused on learning literature and English comprehension. Here, the government gives kids everything, and parents don't have to pay for anything. They just have to have the will to send their children to school."
"In my country, like in every other country in the world, there are always kids who are sent to school with the best and everything," explains the younger sibling. "And, even like that they go and misbehave and bring back 70s to their home. On the other hand, the children who have the least are the ones who are bringing home the better grades, because there are some kids who value the work their parents make to be able to send them to school."