As a requirement for Global Citizen Year, all fellows must complete a Final Community Project. The purpose of this project is to give something back to the community that you have lived in for the past 7 months. When I first began to consider what I could do for my project, I was at a loss. What could I possibly do to serve my community that had done so much for me, that had welcomed me so graciously and given me a second place to call home? What impact could one, high school graduate from the United States have? While many people from the United States have gone to foreign, developing countries in order to “help”, I imagine that unless they have a trained skill that their communities need, after arrival they quickly realize that their efforts are fruitless.
But then I began to think from a different perspective. Instead of what I could do to “help” my community, I began to think of what has been the most impactful for me, that I could share. Throughout my time here, I have learned the most from listening to others, especially from those who have different backgrounds than I do. And using my unique position of having lived in the United States but also in Sigsig for a decent amount of time, I came up with an idea.
Ever since I arrived in Sigsig and Ecuador as whole, I’ve been hearing stories of immigration. Especially in the Azuay region, it is extremely common for people to immigrate to the United States when they are in their 20s to find work, and the majority of them go undocumented. In the United States too, immigration has been a highly debated issue, especially the issue of undocumented immigrants. Given that this is an issue so relevant to both the United States and Ecuador, I wanted to learn more about it. What were these immigrants motivations for leaving, how were their journeys, what were their lives like in the United States?
So I conducted a variety of interviews with people from my community — my coworkers, host parents, teachers for a few. The upcoming posts will be their stories, Humans of New York style, published in both English and Spanish, for you to read and learn from. My hopes for this project are to remind these people from Sigsig that their stories are important and should be heard, and also give all of you back home a unique perspective we don’t usually hear in the United States. How often have you heard individual stories of undocumented immigrants in the United States? How many of them have you met? I know that for me, before this experience, the number was very few.
I hope you enjoy my project, and are able to take away something from the stories of these incredible people.
De Sigsig, Azuay a Sigsigito, Connecticut: Stories of Immigration from Ecuador to the United States