This article is from the May 1999 The Mexico File newsletter.
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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 carnival.

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.