Que Dijo?!

The Texas Story Project.

As the tiles are being dragged around the compound by color, texture, material, clack clack clack, a young pregnant Hispanic woman sits in a chair watching television. Entertained by the moving pictures, she forgets the noisy world around her. “Cuando andaba limpiando, siempre tenían el television aprendió, y me quedaba sentada bien calladita viendo televisión. ‘Maria! Maria!’ pos yo siempre con Lupina nunca entendí que me andaba. Entonces nunca le puse atención.”

Maria Guadalupe Rodriguez, originally born Maria Guadalupe Arjona, was born in General Teran, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. Growing up with her brothers and sisters, she was nicknamed Lupina in reference to her middle name. She later fell in love and married her husband, Rogelio Rodriguez, and took his last name. While she was pregnant with her first child, a boy, in 1983, she crossed the Rio Grande River and came into the United States. With the help of family friends, she and her husband went to live in Mesquite, Dallas, Texas. 

In Dallas, she had her son, Rogelio Rodriguez Jr., and was later pregnant with her eldest daughter, Malanie Rodriguez, in 1985. Because the family was tight on money, Maria Guadalupe got a job at a tile company cleaning the main business offices. Because her boss was a Caucasian male who did not speak a single word of Spanish, and she was a Hispanic woman who only spoke Spanish, the communication around the office was rather...difficult.

“Cuando andaba limpiando tenían el television aprendió, y me quedaba sentada viendo televisión. ‘Maria! Maria,’ [her boss calling her attention] pos yo siempre con Lupina nunca entendí que me andaba. Entonces nunca le puse atención.”

Working in a tile company, loud banging was a usual noise to hear. For Maria however, the noise was always a fright to her. 

“Siempre me asustaba con el ruido de las baldosas cayéndose al suelo. Nomas se ollia ‘TAS!’ y se me salía el grito ‘AHHH’. Una vez mi jefe entro la oficina con unos baldosas en la mano y me dijo ‘Maria, Maria, look, look’. Tiro los baldosas en el suelo. TAS! Yo todavía viéndolos me dio miedo. ‘AHHH!’ me fui y me escondí.  Siempre me trataba a condicionar me al ruido de los baldosas callando al suelo. Pero yo como quiera viéndolos me daba miedo y se me salía el grito.   

Months later Maria had her daughter and quit her job to raise her family. However, as time passed and her family grew bigger, she moved to the Rio Grande Valley, because of the cheap housing opportunities; however, she never forgot the memory of her boss who tried his best to communicate with her even though everything scared her. 

“Ahora en este mundo hay gente que tienen miedo hablar entre sí debido a los puntos de vista políticos que circulan por los Estados Unidos. Estoy contando esta historia para mostrar que aunque no todo el mundo le va a gustar, hay buena gente. Sólo tienes que darle la gente la oportunidad de mostrar quiénes son."

Alondra Rodriguez Sanchez is currently a sophomore at St. Mary’s University. When she’s not studying biology in San Antonio, she’s back home in Edinburg, Texas with her family. In her free time she spends her day looking for more opportunities to help all kinds of animals in order to jump start her career as a research zoologist. She is looking forward to saving the sea turtles this summer by participating in volunteer work at the Sea Turtle Inc. located at South Padre Island.

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