Six days without showering en route to the United States

Oscar Rodriguez. (Courtesy photo)

My father, Oscar Rodriguez, was born and raised in Colima, Mexico. Leftover construction
material and any other kind of abandoned scraps were the materials of his childhood home. Growing up poor, my father began working to help support his parents at an early age. Eventually, at the cusp of adulthood, he followed in his community’s footsteps and immigrated to the United States.

He did not plan on permanently residing there. Like those in his hometown — people who had traveled “up north,” saved some money, and eventually returned to build a home — my father set out to simply earn a wage. He summed up his preconceived view of the United States with a saying he had heard as a child.

“You sweep up the money from the floor,” he recalled.

Just like this image of the United States, plans changed. He met my mother a year or so after getting settled in Modesto, California. And he now lives in Wenatchee, Washington with my mother and two siblings.

He recalled his entry into the United States, traveling with his cousin after an eventful six-day trip.

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This story was produced in partnership with the First Days Project.