Honoring Family Legacies 

Silvia Fuentes, 61

Immigrated from Guatemala 

“Of course, I didn’t want to die, but I wanted to honor my mother.” 

Hannah L.

Shazi Shabation

December 16, 2019

She was 4 years old when the war started, 24 when her mother passed away and 25 when she uprooted her life from Guatemala to the United States. 

“I was falling into a state of depression,” she said, 

“Then my sisters and my father decided that I would be moving to the United States.” 

Silvia Fuentes came to the United States 33 years ago on October 16, 1986. She was 25 years old, had a career as a teacher, and had many family and friends in Guatemala. She was almost forced to leave due to the war.

 “There was a civil war going on when I got my teachers degree. And of course, back then they were mostly targeting teachers, doctors, priests, and lawyers, so my family was worried for my safety.”

Since she specifically said that her family was concerned about her safety, I asked her if she had cared about her safety. 

“Of course, I didn’t want to die, but I mostly wanted to stay to honor my mother.” “Her mother had passed away the year before she moved, and as she spoke about her mother and how hard it was to leave her, I could see the small tears forming in her eyes, only to be quickly wiped away by the stroke of her hand. I asked her whether she had thought she had made a good choice in moving. “Now I realize that I made the right choice in staying. Back then, my brain did not fully register that I had much more opportunities here.”