We Are America

Voices of the Nation's Future

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Photo ofCampbell Spoor

I really liked my life in Guatemala. My family had decided to go down for one week, but we ended up staying for five years. I liked my school, my friends, and how different it was than any other place I had lived. Even though I liked it, things in Guatemala were not “nice.” The roads were made of either cobblestone or dirt. There was this one bridge that I would cross over on my way to school every day. It smelled horrible, and because of that, we named it the Stinky River. Everybody would put their trash in the river. There was this one butcher who would throw all of the pig remains into the river, which made it smell a lot worse. Even with the Stinky River and the bad roads, the five years I spent in Guatemala were the best five years of my life.  But when I was 10, my family got blackmailed and had to leave the country. I didn’t really know what was happening. My brother and I were still pretty young, so no one wanted to tell us what was happening because they knew that we were going to be scared. My family started packing up everything  in our house and said that we were going to go to Las Vegas and would be there for a little bit for my dad’s work. In two days, we packed up five years’ worth of belongings. I didn’t know what it was, but I knew something was up, and I knew that it wasn’t good.  On our layover in Dallas, my parents told us how we got blackmailed and had to leave. The thing that worried me most at that moment was my dog, who was still in Guatemala. Once I knew that we weren’t going to be back in Guatemala for a while, I was really sad because I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to say goodbye to my friends, and I knew that I wasn’t going to see them for a long time. I was really relieved because I knew we were safe, but I’ll always be a little sad because I never got to say goodbye to my friends.  At that point, I hadn’t been to the U.S. in a couple of years. I had to adjust to the U.S., and it was a lot different than Guatemala. Even the airport food and candy was different than what we had in Guatemala. Once I started school again, I had to get used to that, too. Community School is a lot nicer, and everything, from classes to homework, is different. The classes in Guatemala were easier, and had less homework, which I liked that a lot, and in Guatemala we had classes in Spanish. Since I hadn’t moved schools for five years, I think it was hard to adjust. It’s easier to go to a new school when you are younger.  After this happened to me, I have become more aware, and I don’t trust random people. I learned that even someone who seems close to you might betray you. Guatemala and Sun Valley are opposites. In Guatemala it is al- ways hot and in Sun Valley it is cold for half of the year. In Sun Valley, every- thing is polished and clean, unlike the rough cobblestone roads of Guatemala. There are things that I still miss and reasons why I would still like to be there, but I can’t change that, so I enjoy my life now. I will never forget Guatemala for as long as I live. I call Guatemala my home. 

© Campbell Spoor. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team through this website and we can put you in touch with the young person’s teacher.