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When the Mountain Does Not Come: Eduardo’s Story

Amidst the backdrop of a pandemic that reshaped lives worldwide, Eduardo’s story emerged as one of unwavering perseverance, resourcefulness, and steadfast dedication to family.

When COVID-19 first hit, Eduardo found himself grappling with a reduced work schedule, and therefore reduced income. Like millions of others, he navigated the uncertainties with a heavy heart and determined mind. Working on the frontline in a food processing company, he not only had to worry about his own safety but also about how to make ends meet for his family.

The challenges were compounded by the distance that separated him from his loved ones. With family back in Guatemala, Eduardo had an additional responsibility – the financial support that he provided was a lifeline that stretched across borders.

Exclusion Amidst Struggle 

One of the most painful aspects of the pandemic for Eduardo was the exclusion he felt. While conversations buzzed about stimulus checks and financial relief, Eduardo and many immigrant families like his were left behind. His coworkers discussed the government relief they were receiving, the stimulus checks that would cushion their financial fall and the opportunities that came with it. But for Eduardo, these talks were a stark reminder of his exclusion from these benefits.

“When we were at lunchtime with the guys, there were talks and versions of many things, and they began to say… ‘You are going to get a check of $1,200,’ and some said: ‘no,’ ‘yes,’ and others: ‘I already got it.’ Well, they only talked about residents and citizens, and we just stared off into space.”

“Cuando la montaña no viene a Mahoma, Mahoma tiene que ir a la montaña.”

Eduardo embraced this common saying in his home country, translating as: “When the mountain does not come to Mohammed, Mohammed has to go to the mountain.” He realized that waiting for things to change wasn’t an option, especially when there were mouths to feed and children who depended on him. Eduardo took matters into his own hands. He bought haircutting tools and spread the word among his coworkers to build his clientele and income stream. It was a practical solution that not only helped him make ends meet, but also brought a sense of community amongst his colleagues and neighbors during a time of isolation.

While Eduardo’s determination sustained him, his dreams soared beyond borders. He envisioned a bigger, brighter future for his family, a reality where they could live in a spacious home with room for his daughters to play. Memories of his homeland, Guatemala, tugged at his heartstrings, but he knew that his daughters deserved the opportunities that the U.S. could offer.

Eduardo’s story is one that resonates deeply with us, echoing the struggles and aspirations of many immigrants who face exclusion while striving to build a better life for their families.

We’re grateful to Eduardo for sharing part of his journey with us after we met him through the Immigrant Families Recovery Program (IFRP). Join us to support families like Eduardo’s here.