Audio Recording of Interview
A refugee from Honduras, Aleysi describes her life as the owner of a beauty salon before migrating to Miami with her children due to an increasingly unsafe political climate, including her personal experience of violence at the hands of MS-13. She describes her experience resettling in the United States and how faith has helped her through the process.
Other interviews of this person can be found below:
Narrator: Aleysi Padillou
Location: Miami, FL
Summary: A refugee from Honduras, Aleysi describes her life as the owner of a beauty salon before migrating to Miami with her children due to an increasingly unsafe political climate, including her personal experience of violence at the hands of MS-13. She describes her experience resettling in the United States and how faith has helped her through the process.
Topics: Childhood, Immigration Process, Conditions Back Home, Cultural Adjustment, Employment Family, Historical Context, Religion, War, Violence, Politics, Identity
Section 1: (00:00-07:11)
Childhood - Padillou was born and grew up in Olanchito, Honduras.
Immigration Process - Padillou, as well as her youngest and middle children, came to Miami as a refugee through an organization in Honduras. At the time of the interview, it had only been around a month since their resettlement.
Conditions Back Home - Padillou always planned to live in Honduras, but recent events forced her to move.
Cultural Adjustment - So far, Padillou’s experience has been “pretty wonderful,” as she has met many kind and generous people. Also, the organization is giving her English classes.
Employment - She was connected to a job by a Nicaraguan woman who also connected her with a church.
She currently works at a beauty salon with the woman’s daughter.
Section 2: (07:11-21:15)
Family - Padillou was married for 10 years, but her husband sold their house, along with everything else, and left her and their children.
Employment - After working at the same place for six years, her employer closed the store but allowed Padillou to start her own beauty salon, which she sustained for 10 years.
Historical Context - After 10 years, when the coup d’état occurred in Honduras, Padillou had to shut down her salon and take clients to her home. Later, she was able to run her salon from a place her sister in-law gave her for three years.
Religion - Believes that there are no coincidences, she only believes in purpose, and that comes from God.
War - But when the MS-13 began to charge a war tax, she was only able to pay it by taking out a high interest loan from a moneylender.
Violence, Politics - After she was unable to pay any more, they (the MS-13) entered the salon, beat and threatened her, and smashed up her salon. She was able to flee and live with a friend for a while, but the government refused to help her and she eventually turned to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
Section 3: (21:15-29:28)
Immigration Process - The International Organization for Migration helped Padillou resettle in the US, but in doing so she had to give testemonies of her experience — she worries where these accounts may end up and how they will affect her.
Violence - While they were in Tegucigalpa, MS-13 found her eldest son and shot him three times because he wouldn’t tell them where his mother was.
Conditions Back Home, Identity - Padillou loves her country, but believes that it is “ugly” there right now.
Religion - When she moved to Tegucigalpa, Padillou served as a deacon at her church, visiting hospitals, shelters, taking food to people, etc. It was a very meaningful experience, and she would like to do something similar in the US.
Cultural Adjustment - She likes church she currently attends, but is still adapting to it. Believes this experience has brought her and her sons closer together, which is a blessing.
Section 4: (29:28-38:37)
Cultural Adjustment - Their experience in the shelter was also difficult, since it was as if they were starting from square one.
However, there were many people that gave their time and money to make her journey more bearable, such as a man who waited through hours of delays at the Houston airport to pick her up.
Family - Padillou’s resettlement also had a huge impact on her family. Her son, who came with her, had to leave his wife and children. And she could no longer bring her mother to her doctor’s appoitments.
Section 5: (38:37-45:11)
Immigration Process - When asked what advice she would have for others seeking resettlement, Padillou urged people to be patient and have faith in the process — that God has planned the timing of things.
She believes strongly in the effectiveness and importance of hard work, and taking advantage of those opportunities given to you.