Hear My Testimony: Maraia Teresa Tula, Human Rights Activist of El Salvador

By María Teresa Tula; Lynn Stephen | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 10

LIVING AND WORKING
ABROAD: MEXICO AND
EUROPE

In order to go to Mexico, I had to get passports for my family. I didn't go to the immigration office for the passports. Instead, I used these people we call coyotes, who are connected to people in the immigration office. They charge you a fee and they get your passport for you. Legally the passports cost 80 colones, but these coyotes charge 150 colones. If I had gone directly to immigration, I would have had to hire a lawyer to help me because my children were minors and needed special permission for them to leave. My oldest son was 13; the next son was 12; the daughters who were leaving with me were 9 and 2 years old.

When we were all in the taxicab ready to go to the airport my family still couldn't believe I was going. My oldest daughter, who I had when I was 14, was still living with my mother. We went to say good bye to them.

My mother told me, "It's fine that you are going. Just take care of your children. You have to be both mother and father to them because you are all they have. Frankly, I wish you weren't leaving, but you have already decided to go. I just want you to know that when you return I won't be here. I am going to die sometime soon. You will receive a telegram there in Mexico and when you return you will visit my grave."

My mother said this to me so seriously. I was worried because my grandmother had told me the same thing the day before she died in 1965.

-115-

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