My Brother Could Have Been a Child Soldier


The whole trip she was worried that they would be caught, but this next part would prove to be the most challenging yet. February 13, they were crossing the border into Texas. The men helping them across were worried that my mother’s son would get spooked and start crying, causing them to get caught.

My mom was terrified, but she kept her cool.

“You’re just going to take a bath in the water,” she said about crossing the shallow water. Her voice hid her fear. Her little boy loved the water, and she sighed a breath of relief that her son wouldn’t be the downfall.

But it still went wrong: Despite their best efforts, they were caught.

Border patrol spotted them, and held them in Texas. She was given a hearing and was granted asylum. The United States was involved in the conflict by siding with the Contras, who were against the Sandinistas.

She spent a week in Texas and had spent the little money she had on food. She was able to live at Casa Romero in Brownsville, a church shelter for refugees that was meant for 20 people but regularly had close to 200 closed near the end of that same year. She asked her sister to buy her a bus ticket, and after that, she was on her way to Miami.

It was more than 1,500 miles, but her little boy – the one she had risked everything for – sat on her lap. For the first time in a long time, she breathed a sigh of relief.

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About this author

Yara Simon, Contributor

Yara Simón is a freelance writer who grew up in Miami and was raised by her Nicaraguan mother. She graduated from the University of Florida before moving to New York. She loves the city, though she suffers from fritanga withdrawals. Fashion labels Proenza Schouler and Wes Gordon make her heart flutter, and she won't miss an episode of Game of Thrones. 

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