My grandma often makes a famous Salvadorian dish called Pupusas, and she tells the story of how she conquered the American dream. Elena is my grandma who was born in Las Flores, El Salvador. She had seven siblings and were very poor. They had no electricity in their home nor did they have to floor. Her father harvested corn and died in 1990 at age 83 in the Salvadorian civil war. Economically and politically El Salvador was chaotic. Elena was drawn to immigrate to the United States to seek economic opportunities. Elena was desperate to find economic opportunities because she ended up having six children with an alcoholic partner. Elena was in debt, and she needed to do something to support her children. She then came in contact with a “coyote” a person that agreed to smuggle her across the border for $200. The “coyote” was captured by immigration officials. However, he paid off the officials, and they were then allowed to continue. They then stopped in Guatemala and stayed in a hotel for a couple of nights. Then Elena was forced to float across a river to get to Mexico. In Mexico, the coyote connected her with a lady that eventually advised Elena to get into the trunk of a vehicle to drive across the Mexican border and into California. In California, my Grandma earned enough money to bring all six of her children to the United States. My grandma felt like she accomplished the American dream when all her children arrived to the United States. 

Year: 1981

– Katherine Mata

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant