This is the passport my grandmother used to travel with her daughter, my mother, to the United States from Colombia. When my grandmother’s oldest brother and mother died within a month of each other, she decided to move from her rural hometown, La Plata Huila, to a bigger city in Colombia called Cali in order to find work and support her many siblings. That was where she met my mother’s father, a rich engineer, who helped her support her family. However, he turned out to be very jealous and controlling and the relationship turned abusive. When my grandmother became pregnant, she feared that she would be dependent on him forever. My mother was born with health issues so my grandmother convinced her father to let them travel to the United States for better treatment. She secretly had no intention on returning to Colombia. She applied for her first passport and traveled to New York in 1970. She then became a factory worker in Queens and gained economic independence and created a new life for her and her daughter.
– Melissa Alamilla