Introducing Jose Sanchez and Ivonne Segovia

Natalia Fischl-Lanzoni - Ecuador


April 3, 2018

Jose and Ivonne work in the gym that I would go to often during the week. Jose is an exercise instructor and Ivonne is the secretary for the gym.


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Life in the United States wasn’t for me like it is for you. We were illegal immigrants — we couldn’t drive a car, go to the hospital, or utilize any government services. For the first three years I lived with 12 other immigrants in one apartment. It was so crowded, I lived in a tiny room under the stairs. Later I rented a house with my wife when she came. But all I did there was work. Sunday to Sunday, all day long, working. There was never time for anything else, we had to work to be able to make a living. It was strenuous, and after 12 years there we moved back to be with our family.

The journey too was terrible. I first went in boat, from Ecuador to Guatemala. The boat ride was a month and a half, 44 days. From Guatemala it was two days to walk to Mexico. Then through Mexico for 6 days, until I arrived at the border. We crossed the border walking, outside of Phoenix, where they put us in a bus. It was some of the worst days — I was always hungry and thirsty; we slept on top of mud covered with plastic bags; there were so many mosquitos. In the boat all 40 of us were crammed in the bottom. We couldn’t leave that space, that one room was our bedroom, bathroom, everything. It was the worst smell you could imagine. I remember so much suffering there.

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Mi vida en Estados Unidos fue muy difícil. Cuando recién llegue pasaba en una casa con 12 otro migrantes. Yo dormía debajo de los gradas, en un cuarto muy pequeño. Luego, cuando mi esposa llego, rentamos una casa donde pudimos conseguir una cuarto para dos personas. Estados Unidos es un país esclavizado. Para los americanos es como trabajar 8 horas entre la semana, nada más. Pero para nosotros tuvimos que trabajar todo el tiempo para poder vivir. Nos sentimos como prisioneros. Trabajaba de domingo a domingo. No nos gusto nuestra vida alla. No podíamos manejar carro, o hacer mucho porque no tuvimos documentos.

Yo immigre por Guatemala. Salí de Guayaquil en barco. Estaba 44 días en barco para llegar a Guatemala. De Guatemala fuimos dos días caminando para cruzar la frontera de México. De México demoramos cinco días para llegar a Estados Unidos. Nos esperaba una buseta afuera de Phoenix Arizona, y de allí nos metieron en la buseta. El viaje era terrible. Siempre pasamos hambre, sed, dormimos encima de lodo, los mosquitos no nos dejaban dormir. En el barco pasabamos durmiendo en el parte abajo del barco, como 40 personas. Allí mismo dormimos y usábamos el baño, entonces era un olor terrible. Hubo mucho sufrimiento.


Natalia Fischl-Lanzoni