Hope for a Brighter Tomorrow: The Perez Family

By Appaswamy “Vino” Pajanor

In the shadow of fear that loomed over their home country, the Perez family, like so many others, faced the harsh realities of violence and danger. The words of the matriarch, spoken with a heavy heart, painted a vivid picture of the challenges they endured.

“We always live in fear because now the threats are not just towards you or your partner, now the threats are to the children, and as a parent, that’s what kills you the most. As a mom myself, I don’t want my kids involved,” she expressed, her voice tinged with the weight of a mother’s concern.

 Violence in Guatemala, their homeland, was increasing every day, bringing new fears to the family.  “It’s very violent and dangerous… My country right now is going through a very rough process because every day at every hour there is a new threat, a death threat, someone dead; it is very hard,” she lamented.

The family’s journey to the United States was marked by separation, a painful chapter in which the mother was left alone with her children. Danger persisted, and in the absence of her husband, she had to muster courage in the face of adversity.

“When my husband came to the United States and left me alone with the kids, it was very difficult. The threats towards me and my children started. It’s something I don’t even want to remember,” she confessed.

The resilience of a mother was evident in a poignant act of defiance. “The moment I was left alone, I had to cut my hair and my daughter’s hair to show society that we were strong and brave,” she recounted, a symbolic gesture in the face of their trials.

Separated for what felt like an eternity, the family finally reunited in the United States. The mother, now in a place where safety felt tangible, shared the relief and joy of her children. “To my kids, I explained to them that we were now in a country where no one could hurt us. When I told them no one was going to hurt us, for them, it was joy,” she said, her words carrying the weight of newfound security.

Yet, their arrival in the U.S. was not without its challenges. The family initially struggled with meager resources, living in cramped conditions that were far from suitable for children. The turning point came when Catholic Charities stepped in, offering a lifeline that brought hope and stability.

“When Catholic Charities stepped in, I felt hope and calm knowing that we mattered to someone,” she shared, expressing gratitude for the assistance that quickly followed. The family moved into a new apartment, and the joy of having a place they could call home was palpable. “My children walked in so happy; they were full of joy knowing they had a bed to sleep in, that we had furniture, that we had cups and plates,” she recounted with emotion.

In their new home, the family found not just shelter but a renewed sense of hope. “Here there is hope for my kids’ future,” she affirmed, confident that in the United States, her children would find opportunities for growth, education, and the chance to build a future of their own. Despite the hardship, the experience became one of resilience, hope, and the promise of a brighter tomorrow.

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