This article is from the May 1999 The Mexico File
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by Bruce McGovern
Elva is the nineteen year
old daughter of my wife's cousin. I first met her in March. Margarita and I went
to my wife's native village in Puebla, for the Feria, that is, the annual town
After a token appearance at
the family avocado ranch, we rushed back to the town square. Margarita wanted to
play bingo, so I sat alone, on a concrete bench, in the dark.
A few minutes later, three
giggling girls came running to talk to me. Within three minutes, Elva announced
she wanted to visit Texas to learn English.
Elva is petite, and has a
soft, round, smiling face. Her eyes are those large, brown, soft, romantic eyes
that routinely render unsuspecting North American men helpless. She has the same
extremely friendly, positive, outgoing personality as my daughter, Clarissa.
Her hair is the modern
country cut, gathered with an elastic ruffle at the neck, otherwise hanging down
the back. She wears a blouse and knee length skirts, varying the color
combinations every day. I would say she has tiny feet, but from my viewpoint,
everyone has tiny feet, so it's hard to be sure.
Elva works 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
in a pharmacy on the town square. That's every day, seven days a week. So, when
I'm in the village, I visit her house, 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., for a short English
lesson. That's not much, and I finally realized she wants to live in the US to
learn English, then attend computer school, which could be a three year project,
or more. I had thought she wanted to visit for two or three months, like my
nieces, for a jump start in English. Since we live in a retirement park, with
some restrictions on visitors, I told her we'd need to investigate further.
I have mixed feelings. Not
everyone who leaves the little village for a better life ends up content. Family
is the most important thing to Mexicans, and leaving them behind is a stiff
price for prosperity.