I am Orlin and I am from Guatemala. My mother left when I was 15 months old. I lived with my grandmother. I was 14 years old when I left my country.
Once I arrived in the US, I started thinking about meeting my mother for the first time in 13 years. I started having very, very strong feelings. I was nervous, excited, and so happy. When we got to the house, my mom was coming out from the house and the first thing I saw were her tears falling down her cheeks. She hugged me very hard, I hugged her too, and she looked to my eyes and she said, “Look how big you have grown.”
I started crying too. Now I feel good by being with my mother. Being with my mom, I feel happy because we are getting to know each other. It was hard at first because we were learning about each other and our emotions. I’m trying to be a good son so she can be proud of me.
Being in the US, that first day was very hard, I didn’t speak English and wouldn’t understand the teachers. But now, being in school has been really great. Ever since I was little I was always thinking about building and how something moves. This year, I got involved in a STEM project where we had to look for solutions to the world problems – specifically water, air and land pollution. Our group looked at how to reduce air pollution. I had the idea to make a prototype for an exhaust filter to help reduce the carbon emissions coming out of cars today. Through this we got third place in the whole world competition.
People today should not judge a person before they know them. This is who I am. I am brave. I am hopeful and I am humble.