Our interviewee today is Néstor Temoche, who came to the United States thirty years ago in search of the “American Dream.”
Tell me; where you are from? “I am Peruvian, specifically from the Constitutional Province of Callao, which borders Lima on the north. It is also where the Port of Callao is located, one of the most important ports in Latin America. In recent years, this area has seen great economic development due to its geographical location and the mentioned port. However, when I came to the United States, the situation was not so.”
Why did you decide to come? “My father had a comfortable economic situation and therefore, I was able to obtain a tourist visa. I had an uncle in New York who welcomed me into his house until I was able to walk on my own. I was just an 18-year-old boy full of dreams and expectations, willing to work. This country, despite its political problems, is a country that gives you opportunities. I deeply admire the thought of the founding founders: respect for equality. Although some may differ, this is a country in which you have a voice. Here, everyone’s opinion is respected, and laws exist to be enforced without privileging anyone. For me, it’s the best country in the world because it has given me the opportunity to raise my family.”
Tell me about your family. “I’m married to an extraordinary woman who is originally from Mexico. I am a man of faith; for me God is above all. He put my wife in my path; she is my home, my inspiration and the driving force of our family. She and my five children are my greatest joy. We have four boys and a girl. My children are all excellent kids who have the opportunity to attend first-world universities. They know that they can be whatever they wish as long as they work for it. One of my sons is serving in the Navy and I feel happy about it. I feel like I’m giving back a bit to what this country has given us.
Tell me about your work. “I worked in the banking sector for about 20 years in different areas of New York and then here in Connecticut. I was able to get them pay for my certifications in business, insurance and as a notary. Today, I work in another commercial sector and in my free time I am an advisor thanks to the certifications I have. The truth is that I have been very lucky. People have always appreciated me in all the work I have done. I also try to make my children understand that your work mystique defines you as a person. This is why they must be responsible, honest, loyal and supportive with the company or person that gives you the confidence to give you a job.
Do you miss Peru? “I miss many things about Peru, like the food, the people’s temperament and their solidarity. No matter how much or little you have, everything is shared. My parents come to visit once a year and, well, that seems little to me. I would like my children to have more contact with them. Next month, we will visit Peru after seven years of absence. I know it will be an unforgettable trip, where my children can learn a little more about the culture and the family and perhaps understand a little my nostalgia for the land that saw me grow. On the other hand, I have my in-laws who, unfortunately, were not able to obtain their U.S. visa, which is why they cannot come to the United States. For this reason, we travel to Mexico once a year to visit them. We love Mexico, its music and food. It’s perhaps one of the richest cultures in Latin America.”
What would be your final message be? “Everything in this life adds up. That is why each step must be taken with confidence and knowing that we consulted those around us. When you have a family, your decisions affect the family group, whether they are right or wrong. God provides, but the decisions are ours to make.”
María Danniella Gutiérrez-Salem practiced law in Venezuela before going after her own American Dream and becoming a writer in the United States. mdgutier@gmail.