Gilda: Believe

Rock with "believe" engraved into it

This last picture is of a stone with the word “BELIEVE.” Every day, I carry it with me in my bag. When I leave home, I have it in my coat. I have to believe in myself. I have to believe in life. I have to believe in others. I have to believe in so many things… things that I want to fight for, because if you fight with faith, then you can accomplish things. Faith is something that I want to maintain because I am a human being. Weakness will make you vanish. With faith and hope, one can keep moving forward.

Juan: My American Dream

This is my American Dream, for me and for all the Hispanics who are here. You dream about going to the US and you think: “Oh, I will earn dollars and return to Guatemala and buy a nice car, a nice house, buy cows, etc.” So this picture of me sleeping and dreaming about my American Dream of coming here to the US to earn dollars and baskets of money and go back and be rich. And then you get here and it’s not like that. Where is the money? Where are all the riches? Where do you pick up the money? It’s all lies. The American Dream that everyone is talking
about is not like that.

Lourdes: Value Your Dreams

Woman standing behind convenience store register

They started small, and now they have a little store. They are humble. They will help you. When they don’t have anything, they won’t deny their friendship. They are always telling you: “whatever I can do, you can do too. What you need is to never give up, to keep on working. Sí se puede, yes you can”. The most important thing is to have and value your dreams.

Gilda: I Cannot Allow Anybody To Cut My Wings

group of pigeons on sidewalk

For me, the pigeon that is taking off to fly is me, because I feel that I cannot allow anybody to cut my wings… in any circumstance. In life, we have to try to fly so we can accomplish our goals, both personal and professional. For this, you need to have faith and hope that you will accomplish them. I remember that my mom used to say, ‘children are not your own- you have to give them wings so they can fly off.’ I remember and carry with me my mom’s words. Those are very wise words. The words that parents tell you during your childhood and youth.

Blas: My Daughter

photograph of young girl

This is a picture I have in my wallet. She is my daughter. She is the only one I have a picture of and I always carry it in my wallet. I have two more daughters. When I’m sad I will pull out the picture and I look at it, and then I get calmer. I call them and we talk, I tell them “I’m OK, it’s all good here.” They’re in California now and they give me the strength to keep on struggling to move forward to improve my life. I send them money for school and for their shoes when I can. I wish I had more to send them more.

Lourdes: He Dreams Of Doing Something Where He Can See His Kids

front of convenience store

This is a picture of this family’s place. They came here as poor migrants. This woman was looking for a job such as cleaning houses, and doing any other labor work. Also, her husband is very humble too. They both came from Mexico. He dreams of doing something where he can see his kids, where he can feed his kids, and where he can do what he loves, which is commerce.

Maria: I Cannot Go And Leave Him Behind

woman holding small child

Well, I’m from over there… but, we’re here for many different reasons, some in search of a better life, others we are here for from our families. I have a son that I can’t leave. I have him in a hospital due to an accident that he had, so I cannot go and leave him behind. If it was not for that I would have never left my children and my family, but my son was already here in the US and then he had an accident. That is why I am here.

Lourdes: The Snow

snow covered cars in parking lot at night

I like the way the light color covers it all as a sheet. This is how pretty nature is. We come from a country where it is very hot. In Tijuana, there is no snow. When my sister came, there was a snow fall. They had never seen snow. Never! It was nice to see their reaction. Here, I learned to appreciate the snow more because people from other places enjoy it a lot. I can show you how all those dark, grey and black cars were covered in white.

Gilda: The Smell Of The Beach

Bare foot in sand

I wanted to smell the sand and the beach. I wanted to connect to that smell of the water, so I took my shoes and socks off because I wanted to put my feet on the sand and connect with the sand. I used to do this in my village. I felt that I was receiving all the energy of the sand. For a moment, I felt like I was free. It’s as if I was going back to the past, to how I was before I came to the US. When I take my shoes off and walk on the sand, I feel freedom.

Maria: The Peaceful Place

mossy rock in grassy area behind parking lot

This landscape brings me memories of the peaceful place I used to live in. You desire to be there in that tranquility, no noise from anything, only the roosters, the dogs barking, the chickens cackling, the sheep, the cows, the burros... We would go wash to the river, and we’d look for a rock like that to wash. I imagine that I am there, kneeling down washing clothes in the river, although there is no water here in the picture, but I was imagining it.