I Learn Library

A human library inspired by the stories in the film

Jose, An I Learn America Story

By Jose E.  |   From : El Salvador  |   School : School of Business & Tourism (LA)


When I was born San Salvador I lived with both parents for 4 years until they separated. My mom took me to where my grandparents were when I was about 5 years old. Then I started kindergarten at Christian School Bread of Life.

I was studying in school for three years. Later I met my childhood friends with whom I went out to play every day in the afternoon. I would play soccer with them and in the mornings we played marbles. There were days where we played soccer all day. I played with all my friends at the house where I lived. I grew up with my grandparents but I would also visit my day mom came to visit me every weekend at my grandparents’ house where I lived.

My mother took me out of school because they could not pay and they put me in a public school. I was eight at the time. The school was called the Republican School of Peru. There are six years of classes. I remember it well. In school, I did all of the grade levels but I failed 2nd grade and 3rd grade. I left school because I did not understand almost anything in school. It was hard for me to learn. I did not understand a lot.

At 14 years old I wanted to work on something and I had a friend who sold vegetables in his car like banana, onions, chile onion, green potatoes. I told him to take me to work and i worked with him for six months. I only worked six months because he immigrated to the United States. When he left I was unemployed, I had more free time to play with my friends every afternoon. when I was 15 years old a friend’s uncle opened a restaurant and I asked to for a job at their restaurant and they told me that they could, but the night shift. They paid by the day and it was three dollars for every day that i worked. This means that I worked at 75 cents an hour.

The reasons why I left my country were because it is very dangerous in my hometown and I came looking for a better life because I did not go to school.

My Journey

I left the country on November 22 at 7 am I left the house to the bus stop. The bus took me to Metapan, this is the border between El Salvador and Guatemala. I left via Metapán through the mountains by blind spots. We traveled in a van. We passed the mountains and the trip lasted about 6 hours. Later we took a bus to a hotel that was in a place bordering a city called Esquipulas.

Then I took a bus that crossed all of Guatemala. To cross to Mexico, we went by boat in a river, since the river was very big. We finally crossed the river and arrived in Mexico before continuing to the United States.

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