Editor’s Note: Daphne Mendez Guandique came to my ELL Newcomers class during the height of the COVID pandemic. She is now a senior, and a student in my IB Theory of Knowledge course. She wrote this memoir for the English class she’s in this year, and give me permission to publish it here.


I was born in San Pedro Sula, Honduras I have lived there for fourteen years, and I have a lot of friends and family there everything was good but when I was 7 years old my father died, and everything became difficult. My family and I had a lot of difficulties with money, feelings, and other things because a big person in our life left and changed everything.

When I was fourteen years old I moved to the United States with my family. My mom came first with my little sister and after two years I came with my brother, but not everything was easy because many things happened before I came to the United States. I had to cross two countries and nothing was easy, first I crossed Guatemala and after Mexico. I need to take busses and many cars to reach the United States. Is a big decision to immigrate to the United States because it is too dangerous but everything is for better things in our lives.

When I was there I saw many bad things like people with guns, people using drugs, and more people trying to cross into the United States. The first time I crossed the border the emigration officer took me to the “Hielera” which is something like a jail because inside that place they had things like little cages in big spaces maybe 8 cages in all the space inside each cage were children of the same age. Inside the detention center, I felt like I was inside a cage because there were too many people in the same space everyone and everything was closed. I tried to cross into the United States two times the first time, I was sad because I needed to come back to my home country because that was the time of COVID-19 and no one could enter for that reason that was in July. When I came back to my country I stayed there for 4 more months and in December I decided to try one more time.

The second time I passed. After I crossed the border I needed to stay in immigration with more immigrant children, I stayed there for just 2 days and after moving to a migrant center, I was there for 28 days because they needed to check everything about my family and that there no danger of being with them. I spent Christmas there and was difficult because I wanted to be with my family not there. In the migrant center, every day was the same routine, in the morning they woke you up for breakfast and cleaned the space where you slept, but the covid was active at that time too so I stayed 14 days in quarantine after that I needed to wait another 14 days for left that place to go with my mom.

Now I feel grateful because I made it and everything is going well, but no it was easy at the time because it was a new country and I needed to adapt to it but it’s okay. I know that I can do it because I do other things more dangerous than learning other things.