MARIA RUNGWAT WARREN
June 17, 2017
MONICA CHRISTOFFELS
June 17, 2017

JUAN CARLOS VALLE

“One night to look at my surroundings, an impoverished, dangerous and economically depressed neighborhood at a tender age to see reality face to face.

A place in the outskirts of Mexico City. To wish to the night for just a day better than the day before and to find a meal and perhaps steady shelter. That is what it means to be an immigrant to me.

As a kid, to leave behind the very few friends. To exchange the only pleasure of playing canicas (marvels) for long day labor in the unforgiving orchards of Medford Oregon. To feel the sweat down my forehead and my tired back, but to keep going forward so I wouldn’t go back. That’s an immigrant life to me.

To leave your family of 8 plus parents behind. To leave behind the few, but powerful childhood memories of your country. To encounter a new life seemingly an oasis, but a real laborious future.

To constantly adjust to learn a new language, way of life, laws and even food. To plant your future in hopes of some day harvest a better life. To be distinguished by segments of society as an overseas visitor when your ancestors were all from the Americas. To work hard to be better than yourself yesterday. To turn around and give back and help others. To me, that is what it means to be an immigrant.

The future is brighter when there is a community and when we remember that all of us are immigrants. I am blessed for the chance of a better life.”

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