Rio Matadero

the strength of the river is variable
the strength of the river is variable

Yesterday, my mom advised me not to mention "immigration" when interviewing other Ecuadorian immigrants for my thesis project. She said that it does not carry with it a positive connotation, especially in light of the politically-heated climate. I find it interesting how in many ways the immigration experience can be conveyed through artistic expression - how in the abstract it captures the will to discover, to voyage, and to grow. But for my family, they view their migratory experience as just another complicated stage in life like so many others one encounters in their life time. As a college student, I find pride and empowerment in my cultural heritage. It makes me unique and reminds me of how beautifully diverse this world is. However, I asked my mom, "what does the immigrant experience mean to you," to which she replied: "it's going to mean a hell of lot less than your graduation."

Most of my dearest family members live in Ecuador. Even though I left at the age of four, every time I return to visit they excitedly greet me with a familial warmth and love I wish I had experienced more often growing up. In Jersey, my mom and I depend on each other for everything. We support each other and find meaning in what we do because of one another. We have to, because that's what families to do. 

Like the river, we are always moving forward: powerfully one day, gentle the next. 

Place(s): Ecuador
Year: 1995

– Jorge Maldonado

Relationship:  Im/migrant who arrived as a child Im/migrant who arrived as a child