TRIBUNA NEWSPAPER- Mr. Sanchez, please tell us about your life journey and why you decided to come to the United States.
DAVID SANCHEZ RESENDIZ – I am originally from Mexico and I came to this country in 1986, when I was 18 years old. I was living in Arizona where both of my older brothers were already living. I started washing dishes in restaurants and then I went to work in the countryside. I was very young, and single, so after a year I didn’t feel a need to stay in the U.S. I went back to Mexico; I wanted to do something in my country, to work and go to school there. With the small amount of money that I had saved here, I bought a car and worked as a cab driver. After six months, my oldest brother called me to come back to the U.S. I didn’t want to, but he encouraged me to come, and I returned to the United States, straight to Danbury, CT, where my brothers were residing then.
TRIBUNA NEWSPAPER – How were the first years after you moved here permanently?
DAVID SANCHEZ RESENDIZ – After a short time, President Ronald Reagan signed immigration reform legislation, which helped me become a legal resident and receive my green card. It was a great relief because I no longer needed to feel afraid or insecure about being deported, and could continue to work. When I arrived here, there were just a few Hispanics. The community was very small, and everyone knew each other. It was then that I met my wife, who is also from Mexico. We dated and then got married. We have always worked hard, respecting the laws of this country, and not causing any problem. We had four children, two girls and two boys. They were all born and raised in Danbury.
TRIBUNA NEWSPAPER – You have recently opened the restaurant El Papaya. How did it happen? Did you have any experience in the restaurant field?
DAVID SANCHEZ RESENDIZ – It all started together with my brothers. We had a desire to start something different. We come from a family of business owners, so we had that ideal. It was in 1995 when we were thinking of ways to open our own business.
However, we did not speak English, and we didn’t know the guidelines to initiate a business, where to go or who could help us with the process. Finally, in 2001, we opened a grocery store. It was not easy and the language was a barrier. To own a business requires a lot of work, so we were there every day and working a lot. After 10 years, we closed the business. We were not making much money, but the satisfaction to work and serve the community paid off.
Later, we opened a deli on Liberty Street. We offered Mexican food such as tacos, quesadillas and many other Mexican dishes. Now, after much thinking and researching, we had the opportunity to open El Papaya restaurant on Main Street, Danbury. With our experience from the previous businesses, we wanted to serve the whole community the best way we could. We thought about incorporating the colors of Mexico in the decor to display our culture and traditions. We would like Americans as well as all other communities to know and appreciate our culinary tradition.
TRIBUNA NEWSPAPER – What is your message to many immigrants who, like you, left their country in pursuit of their “American Dream”?
DAVID SANCHEZ RESENDIZ – It is very important to always have a goal and chase it – a better job or to learn English. We must take advantage of the opportunities here in the United States, and focus on work. Do you want a better house? Do you want to help your family? Or open a business in your country of origin? Focus on your goal and, especially, respect the laws of the country that has embraced you. It will take you a long way. Having an open mind matters because it will allow you to know other cultures and traditions that differ from yours. It is possible to accomplish your dreams; all you need is to take advantage of the opportunities that come your way.