From Danger to Safety

By Angelica Ramirez  |   From : Colombia  |   School : Everglades High School

My name is Angelica Ramirez. I’m 14 years old and I am a current student of Everglades high school. I was born in, Malaga, Colombia. I grew up for 7 years without seeing my dad on a daily day basis. I only saw him twice a year. This was because my dad lived here while my mom and I lived in Colombia. My mother had me at a very young age, this made it difficult for her to study in college while taking care of me. She went through a lot of struggles but was able to get through them without physical help from my dad. When I was only 2, my mom had to move to another part of Colombia without me for 3 months just to make a little more money to provide me what I needed. My mom and her side of the family decided to move to Cucuta, Colombia for a new start and because they would pay my mother more there.

Every time we went to pick my father up from the airport, I would run to him and hold him very tight. When he had to go after a week, it was hard for me and my mom to say goodbye once again. This continued for 7 years. The last time he went to visit us, we were at my mother’s job.  This was in front of a casino. I was playing in the computer when I heard two guys screaming at each other. I ran to my mother to ask her what was happening but before she was able to explain to me that they were having an argument, we heard shotguns. My mother quickly grabbed my brother and went to hide behind her desk while my father grabbed me and found a place to hide. I  was shaking in fear. The gun shots would not stop. Instead of crying like the scared 7 year old I was, I tried to be as quiet as possible hoping for it to stop. It lasted for 5-10 minutes but it felt like an hour or more. The police came and started asking us questions about what happened.

My parents argued about how dangerous Colombia was and that my father did not want us living there anymore. He came back here to Florida and started working hard to gather money to be able to bring my mother, brother, and I to this country. After months of trying, they finally gave us the visa to come here. I had to leave my family and friends behind, but I was happy that I was finally going to be able to live with my father in a more safer country. Once we got here, we moved into my dad’s apartment in Miami. I thought everything was going to be perfect and we were all going to be happy. Unfortunately, it was not exactly like that. It was difficult to make friends in school and understand the work but luckily, I had the only teacher in the school who spoke but Spanish and English. I learned English in the period of 6 months. My mom got pregnant and we started going through a lot of money problems. Both my parents had to work extra hard. After two years, my mother started going to night school to study radiology. She graduated with a 4.0, best in her class, while having to take care of 3 children. I admire her so much for that because I understand it is difficult. All of the hard work, helped us have the life was have right now. My mom works in one of the best children hospitals in florida, my father owns a painting company, and we live in a nice home. I have always been grateful for everything I have because I know how much that cost my parents.

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