I interviewed my father Ricardo Escalante, who named me after himself. We originated from El Salvador. My father is a person that likes to work. He has three sons. The oldest son is twenty, the middle son is eighteen, and the youngest son is fifteen. Ricardo loves his family, and when he sees that we need a break from everything, he takes us to Los Angeles, Lake Tahoe, and other places for us to relax and forget about everything. When he sees we don’t have money to get things, he works extra hours or does what’s necessary for us to be comfortable. In El Salvador, we were not able to afford many necessities because my parents could not earn enough money to support the family. My dad decided to come to the United States for us to get a better future.
Ricardo’s native country, El Salvador, is not a big nation. Some people even call it “the flea country” because of its small size. El Salvador is currently well known for its agriculture and beaches. During Ricardo’s childhood, the country was a very big producer of cotton and coffee. He has a lot of memories from El Salvador. Many of his memories are from the war that was going, and his daily life while growing up. During his childhood, Ricardo liked the people from El Salvador because they were really kind and hard working people. However, in the recent generation, there are a lot of gangs and bad people. Ricardo went to school for twelve years, graduated from high school, and then started to work.
Ricardo decided to move us to the United States because he wanted to keep his family safe. One reason he decided to bring us to the United States was the gangs in El Salvador. He didn’t want his sons to be involved in gangs, because they often threaten to kill you or kill someone from your family. He also decided to leave the country, because in El Salvador, they didn’t pay enough and he needed more money. The final reason we moved is because my mom was really sick and needed help. In the United States, she could get a better doctor to treat her. He says, “I was twenty-seven years old. I was sad and worried when I left because I didn’t know what would happen to us or to me, but I had hopes that it would be better in the United States,” Ricardo said.
Coming over to the United States was dangerous because there was a lake in Mexico and there were people with guns at the border. In addition to this, the desert was really hot and really tiring. He came alone. It took him two weeks to get San Jose. He was able to find a job in three days after his arrival. His first job was to clean the streets. He felt alone and sad because he wasn’t with his family.
After a lot of hard work and time, Ricardo was able to bring Mirtala. Ricardo and Mirtala lived in San Jose before they moved to San Francisco. They started to work. They got money to bring only one of us, but Mirtala asked her sister for money, and she gave her the money. We were coming from school, and my grandma told us to change. She got us really good clothes and shoes, too. I didn’t know what was going on. I was seven years old. We walked at night, and sometimes in the day, but mostly in the night. There were dangerous animals and sometimes you couldn’t see a lot. When we were on our way, they put us on a bus, where the luggage goes. It was really dark, and I fell asleep. When I woke up, I saw the people getting us off. Coming from the dark to the light left me blind. When we were in Mexico, we stayed at a house and it was my birthday. Someone from there bought me a cake and let me call my mom. My mom asked what I wanted for my birthday and I said I wanted her. I remember she started to cry and said to pass the phone to the leader. Later, police from Mexico came and they asked me what I was doing. I said, “We just came.” He asked where the coyote, the one who brought us here, was. I pointed to the house and the police went in. The police said they were going to protect us and take us there. We took two weeks to get to Los Angeles. In Los Angeles, my father picked me up and took us to San Francisco. When I got there, I saw my mom and my auntie, but I didn’t know who was my mom and who was my auntie. I just hugged one of them and said “MOM!” Everyone laughed and said that she wasn’t my mom, and I ran to my mom. After that, my dad took us home and we all slept on the same bed.
He wanted to say that, “Before, people were really more respectful and liked to work, but this generation is more lazy.” He misses his country. He decided to bring Mirtala Escalante, his wife, because he knew she was going to get better. Also, if she came, she could help him to bring us or go back to El Salvador. He recommends that people shouldn’t come here, because traveling here is really dangerous and now it’s more different than before.
This interview helped me to learn more about my father, understand why he had to do certain things, and know more about my country. I didn’t know a lot about my dad when he was coming over here and why he did it. Now, I know everything he went through. This interview has helped me, because I realize that my classmates and I share similar stories. Our parents had to do hard things for the family and for a better life.