I was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador and came to the U.S. in 1980 with my eldest daughter who was six months old at the time. I came to join my husband who had been here since 1970. Coming here was like entering an entirely new world. The language, the environment...everything was different. When I first arrived, I lived in a bedroom at my mother-in-law’s house because my daughter was still very young and it was difficult for me to work or study.
I have moved several times since settling in New York. A year into living with my mother-in-law, my family and I moved to an apartment on Webb Avenue. There, I met a lady who introduced me to selling Avon cosmetics, so I started selling those products, too. Then, a year after moving to an apartment on Webb Avenue, my brother’s application with the New York City Housing Authority was accepted, so we moved again! I am 63 now and have lived in my current apartment for 33 years. My family built our life in this community. My daughters attended the Catholic school right across the street and I worked at the daycare center there, too.
I am very proud of my community and of my roots.
During the COVID-19 global pandemic, students documented their experience with physical distancing and self-quarantine. As we had no access to their cameras, they used their mobile phones to capture the constant changes they faced, both positive and negative.