Elevate: Ana and Orlando Rodriguez

November 15, 2022 00:22:18
Elevate: Ana and Orlando Rodriguez
Elevate
Elevate: Ana and Orlando Rodriguez

Nov 15 2022 | 00:22:18

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Show Notes

Host Timothy Webb sits down with NPC Institutional Facility Assistants Ana and Orlando Rodriguez to discuss how they are involved with National Park College, and their journey to becoming Nighthawks.

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Episode Transcript

Timothy Webb: Thank you all for joining us today here on Elevate, broadcasting from the Razorback Camper Sales Studio. This National Park College podcast highlights a different nighthawk with each episode. We'll talk about their journey, challenges, key moments of success, their moments of elevation, leveling up, and overcoming. I'm Timothy Webb, your host. I'd like to welcome to the program, Ana and Orlando Rodriguez. Thanks so much for joining me today. Ana Rodriguez: Thanks for having us. Orlando Rodriguez: Yeah. Timothy Webb: So Ana, how long have you been here in NPC? Ana Rodriguez: I came back in 2015 and I've been here since. Timothy Webb: Oh, yeah. Ana Rodriguez: Altogether, it'll be 15 years. Timothy Webb: Wow. Ana Rodriguez: Next year, next May. Timothy Webb: Not too long till retirement then, huh? Ana Rodriguez: Yes, I hope. Timothy Webb: Yeah. Orlando, how long you been here? Orlando Rodriguez: [foreign language 00:01:06]. Ana Rodriguez: It will be four years the first of the year. Timothy Webb: Oh okay. Ana, where did life start for you? Where are you originally from? Ana Rodriguez: I'm from El Salvador. Timothy Webb: El Salvador. What little town in El Salvador you are from? Ana Rodriguez: I'm from San Salvador, Colonial Las Palmas. Timothy Webb: What was it like growing up there? Ana Rodriguez: To me, it's just a small town, but it's nice because I still remember little things that I did back when I was younger and good memories. Timothy Webb: Yeah, yeah. Ana Rodriguez: But it's nothing compared to here, but it's a place to live. But it's a poor country. Timothy Webb: Yeah. Ana Rodriguez: It's a really poor country. But now I heard, because I haven't been there since I came to the United States, I heard that it's better now. Better, and not all the way because jobs, it's really hard to find a job over there. Better if you got positions, if you have a degree, it's a lot easier to get a job. They don't make a lot of money like here, but it's better. Better than when I used to be over there, when I was a young woman. Timothy Webb: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Orlando, was you there from there too? Ana Rodriguez: No, he's from different. [foreign language 00:02:29]. Orlando Rodriguez: [foreign language 00:02:30]. Ana Rodriguez: The little town where he's from. See, I've never been there. Orlando Rodriguez: [foreign language 00:02:58]. Timothy Webb: You never been to his town? Orlando Rodriguez: No. [foreign language 00:03:00]. Ana Rodriguez: I met him where I'm from, he came to that little town. Timothy Webb: Oh, okay. Ana Rodriguez: Yes. That's how we meet. Orlando Rodriguez: In the city. Timothy Webb: In the city. Ana Rodriguez: I'm from the city and he's from the pueblo. Timothy Webb: Oh, okay. Orlando Rodriguez: The same for [inaudible 00:03:18]. Ana Rodriguez: See, I will be from Hot Spring and he will be from [inaudible 00:03:21]. Orlando Rodriguez: [foreign language 00:03:26]. Ana Rodriguez: He start working when he was 12. Orlando Rodriguez: 12 years. Timothy Webb: Oh, you started working at 12 years old. Oh man. Orlando Rodriguez: Yeah. [foreign language 00:04:10]. Ana Rodriguez: They were living like in a little room, but not just him, all the family. Kind like apartment, but not like that. It's just like a little room. Timothy Webb: A very small- Ana Rodriguez: Very small place, yes. Timothy Webb: Yes, I See. So y'all are growing up in El Salvador, at what age y'all decide that it is time to move? Ana Rodriguez: I didn't decide really. We start dating because I had my daughter at the age 15, my daughter. Timothy Webb: Wow. Ana Rodriguez: So my older sister, she was already here in California. So she said that she was going to send the money for me to come to the United States. It never happened. So me and him, we were talking and I was telling him that I was coming to the United States. At that time, his sister was already here. So he talked to the sister. I guess she got the money right at that moment. So she sent the money to El Salvador so he came before I did. Timothy Webb: So how much earlier did he come than- Ana Rodriguez: Than me? Two years. Timothy Webb: Two years? Ana Rodriguez: Yes. Because I was pregnant of my daughter. So my sister, she never sent the money so it never happened. So he start working here. He came in 1988. Timothy Webb: 1988. Wow. Ana Rodriguez: So he start working and then he saved the money to send it in order for me to come to the United States. So I left my daughter over there with my mother-in-law. Timothy Webb: Oh okay. Ana Rodriguez: And I came to the United States in 1990. Timothy Webb: 1990. So it's 1990 and y'all are in California. What was your life like out there? Ana Rodriguez: We start for 25 an hour over there. Start working. We didn't have no papers. Orlando Rodriguez: No paper, illegal. Ana Rodriguez: We were illegal when we came. I don't know if you know that some people come with papers, some of them they come in legal. We both came illegal. So we have to work and try to make us legal here. But to be legal you have to have money. Lots of money. So start working. And it was hard because we have to start living with his sister. It was 17 people of us living in one house. Timothy Webb: !7, wow. Orlando Rodriguez: In California. Ana Rodriguez: So it was tough. We did it. We were living with her for three years. And then we saved a little money and then we start renting our own little place. We were working in Martin Luther King Hospital at St. Compton. Timothy Webb: What were y'all doing there? Ana Rodriguez: He was working in the kitchen. He was a prep at the kitchen. And I was working on the line. And I was the supervisor on the salad bar. And in a year I learned how to do everything. So they put me in charge to the group and the salads. And he was in charge at the kitchen. That's what we did in there. But after that, I work at the courthouse down on LA at a little snack bar. When I was in LA I worked for people over there, there's a program, people that completely blind, they give them business to run. So I worked with this guy. He had a snack bar in the courthouse. So we were serving coffee and all different stuff for the judges. So I worked there for five years. Timothy Webb: Wow. Ana Rodriguez: Five years. So that was my last job in California. And then, in 1997 we moved to Arkansas. And here, I haven't had very many jobs here. Our kids were little when we moved from California. See, Hector and David, they were born in California. And Hector, he was almost two when we moved from California. And had start from here. So all three really, they grew up here in Arkansas. Timothy Webb: So what was the travel like from El Salvador to United States? Ana Rodriguez: It's hard because, you are illegal since you live your country. Because we have to cross Guatemala, we have to cross Mexico and we have to cross United States. See we crossed three borders. So we were illegal all the way from Guatemala, all the way to Tijuana. Timothy Webb: Wow. Ana Rodriguez: So it was hard. The travel was hard. One, you have to pay a lot of money. Second, you don't have the papers because you're not from Guatemala, not from Mexico. Three, you have to cross illegal. So immigrants are in the border looking for you and you have to run. They drive you on the train. Since you live from your house to all the way to Tijuana. You travel however. You walk, car and train. Those are the ways to get here. Some people, it's different. I don't know now. This has been back 32 years ago, that's how it was. But it was still hard. And you don't get to eat much. You eat very little. Maybe one meal a day. Not too much water. They don't provide water for you. So it was tough. You cry a lot because you remember home and then you want to go back. Timothy Webb: So did you have to do anything creative to make this journey? Ana Rodriguez: In Mexico, since I was illegal, I speak Spanish, he speaks Spanish. But Spanish is different, Mexico, Guatemala, it's different. Some of the words are not the same. So I was talking in Spanish and the guy who was helping us move into the United States, he's like, "No, you haven't learned the Spanish really well. You need to stop talking like that." And I was like, "What can I do?" So they put me something that is really permanent. They have to cut it. Timothy Webb: Oh yeah, the cast. Ana Rodriguez: Cast. Timothy Webb: Yes. Yes. Ana Rodriguez: So they put that around that way I cannot talk. Timothy Webb: What? Ana Rodriguez: Yeah, I was with that for three days. Timothy Webb: Wow. Ana Rodriguez: Because I was going to be coming on a train and the immigrants from Mexico, they were going to get on a train and they were going to ask me for papers and I didn't have papers from it. So that way, this guy, he can say she's my wife and I'm taking her to the hospital. Timothy Webb: Wow. Ana Rodriguez: So when we got to a city in Mexico, he looked for a little knife and cut it and I was free. But I was with that for three days. Timothy Webb: What an adventure. Oh my gosh. How scary. Ana Rodriguez: It is. It's scary. That's my trip from Guatemala all the way to Mexico City. And then from Mexico City all the way to Tijuana. It was in a bus and then taxis, took me two months- Timothy Webb: Two months. Ana Rodriguez: To get here. Timothy Webb: How many miles do you know? Orlando Rodriguez: It is seven day for driver. Timothy Webb: Seven days driving. Ana Rodriguez: If you go driving is seven days. Orlando Rodriguez: Seven days. Ana Rodriguez: Back and forth, it's 14 days. So it's a long time. But they were taking their time to put me here because my language, the way that I was talking. So that was one of the things they want to make sure that I wasn't talking much. Since sometimes they make me stay on the room to wait, see if I can learn. But I didn't. It was hard for me. Yeah. If they're seven or eight people put you in the truck, they put you a little stack one to the other one. Orlando Rodriguez: In the little truck. Ana Rodriguez: So he was losing [inaudible 00:12:07]. Orlando Rodriguez: His take. This never for [inaudible 00:12:12], and we reach what's coming. Timothy Webb: Oh man. Ana Rodriguez: Because you get scared. Because they look for you, really, I mean all the time. They're on top of you. They look for you really... Because whenever there's a group of people, it's not like five or two, there's more than 50. And not everybody goes to the same place. Some of them go to New York, Washington, California. So he was in a group from Arizona to California. Timothy Webb: When you guys arrived, were y'all able to get legal status immediately or did you have to wait? Ana Rodriguez: When he came, yes, it was easier. They'll give you social security ID. You can be legal right away. Timothy Webb: I see. Back then you could? Ana Rodriguez: Back then, when he came. Timothy Webb: When he came '88. Ana Rodriguez: When I came two years later it was different. Timothy Webb: It was different. Ana Rodriguez: And that was a lot harder for people that I know. We got papers. Thank God. We don't wait too long before we got legal here in the United States. But some people been here for years and years and can be illegal. Everybody, they got difference. Their histories are different. Travel from their countries are different. Now I heard that it's a lot more harder. It was hard for us too. But now, 32 years ago, it's worse now. Yeah. Timothy Webb: It's worse now. Ana Rodriguez: Yes. They can kill you. Timothy Webb: My goodness. So how long were y'all together before y'all decided to make this journey to America? Orlando Rodriguez: Six months living together go for United States. Timothy Webb: Wow. Ana Rodriguez: We were only together six months. Orlando Rodriguez: Wow. It's the must, wow. People are lady and me. For Ana and me. Timothy Webb: Well, y'all are some dice rollers. That is a quite... So y'all were together six months and then it was like, "Okay, it's time to go to United States." Ana Rodriguez: For him. Timothy Webb: So he went- Ana Rodriguez: And I stayed by myself Timothy Webb: And you stayed by yourself. And then he worked for two years waiting on you to make the journey. Orlando Rodriguez: Good experience. I love it for her. Ana Rodriguez: For us, now we can say that it's a good experience, but when you start talking, you see how sad it was. If you put everything together, you see it was really sad. I was really young. I was 18 when I came. But I got my daughter when I was 15. Timothy Webb: Ana, what was childhood like for you? Ana Rodriguez: I was happy. Happy in one way, not for too long. But I grew up with stepdad and he gave me a lot of rough time. A rough time. So after 12 up, my life changed. But I was happy when I was with my dad. I grew up with, no matter how poor we were. But my dad always said, "You're my little girl." That's the good thing that I remember at my dad. So that's something that it's right here. It doesn't go away. Never. But I was a happy kid. We grew up in a really poor community. But that's what it make me who I am now, I think. I don't know if I'm wrong. And I always been happy. Happy no matter what. I can see things on the darkness, but I look the other way and I see like, "Hey, it can be worse." But I was a happy kid. Yes. Timothy Webb: Guys, when y'all moved to Arkansas, how did y'all get to National Park College? Ana Rodriguez: How? A friend of mine, she used to work here. She worked for 15 years, but her husband passed away. So she was working at Barry Plastic, matter of fact she's still there. She was doing that and this one. Timothy Webb: Wow. Ana Rodriguez: But when he passed, she only does that job. So she left the college. So one day she came, I was working in there back when there was Delta Plastic, I was working. She's like, "Ana, they looking for somebody, are you interested to work?" I'm like, "Well, let's check." And I came to talk to Gray Parker and he's like, "Are you interested to work?" And I'm like, "Yes." "When can you start, next Monday?" I was like, "Yes." And that's how I start working- Timothy Webb: That quick, yeah. Ana Rodriguez: That quick. Yeah. So that's how I start working. And I was not working... It's the cleaning. I was cleaning bathrooms only. Me and her, we were doing all the bathrooms on the whole campus. Timothy Webb: And so that was 2005. And then so you got on full-time 2006. And then what year did Orlando show up? Ana Rodriguez: Orlando show up 2019. Timothy Webb: Almost done. Ana Rodriguez: Almost done. Timothy Webb: Only 21 more years to go. Ana Rodriguez: He didn't want to come to work, but I was though. He was in a car wreck. His coworker passed away, back six years ago. So I was like, "You need to move on to do something else." And then Brian, he was our supervisor, he's a teacher, and he asked me if we knew anybody. He's like, "What about your husband? He would be interested to work?" So he came. Orlando start part-time. Orlando Rodriguez: Part-time the night, and two job. Ana Rodriguez: He was doing kind of like me. Timothy Webb: Yeah, yeah. Orlando Rodriguez: Working day and night. Timothy Webb: Oh my god. Long days. Orlando Rodriguez: There for six months. Ana Rodriguez: Six months, he did that for six months. And then there was a position up in... He was not sure, but after all that happened to him, accident. And then was a year later after that car accident, he was broken down here. So he had a surgery at the same job. Like, "You need to do something else." So he's like, "Yeah." So he came. Timothy Webb: So all the way from El Salvador, California to little stint in Washington. Orlando Rodriguez: Working in glove factory. Timothy Webb: In glove factory in Glenwood. Orlando Rodriguez: 14 years. Timothy Webb: 14 years. Yeah. I didn't make it quite that long there. I'll say that. Ana Rodriguez: How long you worked there? Timothy Webb: I think I worked there a week. Ana Rodriguez: [foreign language 00:18:14]. You want to hear how many days I worked there? Timothy Webb: How many? Ana Rodriguez: Two. Timothy Webb: Well, I barely beat you. But Orlando crushed both of us. What are some of your hobbies? Orlando Rodriguez: Soccer, basketball, no but I watch it play. Timothy Webb: Watch it. Orlando Rodriguez: Watch the concert. Timothy Webb: Concert. The music? Orlando Rodriguez: Music, the rock. Timothy Webb: Yeah. Rock music. Orlando Rodriguez: Classic. Timothy Webb: Yeah. Classic rock. Ana Rodriguez: Classic rock, that's his music. My hobbies are, I love cooking. I love being in the kitchen. That's one of my hobbies. Matter of fact, Saturday I'd cook for a friend of mine, that was her birthday, and it was a surprise. So I cook for her. I teach Bible studies Sundays with little ones at the age nine till age 12. I've been doing that for 12 years, like that. I like to read. I have the problem with my vision, but I make myself read. So I would love to read more. But that's one of the hobbies that I would love to do it more. But I just can't do it much. But I do it a little at a time. And another hobby is help whoever needs help. That's something that I love to do. And I do that a lot at church the most. Because I know people from church. But if I know anybody that I don't know, somebody say, "Hey, somebody needs help," I will go help. If I heard somebody needs clothes, they don't, people they just came- Orlando Rodriguez: With a Problem. Ana Rodriguez: So I try to go and look at what I can help with. That's one of my biggest hobbies. Timothy Webb: That's awesome. Yeah, that's wonderful. That is wonderful. So Ana and Orlando, what are y'all's future plans? Ana Rodriguez: We're talking about, I don't work no more. Timothy Webb: Yeah. You retire. Ana Rodriguez: Travel. Timothy Webb: Yeah, travel. Ana Rodriguez: Travel. We're planning on going back to our country. Not for good just to go visit. That's one plan. Because we have two of our kids that they don't live here no more. So go visit, spend time with grandkids. Yeah. I love flowers. So work in my garden. Because I don't have much time. And spend more time at the church. Timothy Webb: Well, that's great. Y'all are really active in the community and that's wonderful. And so just to recap, you guys started off in El Salvador, made it to California. Had a little stint in Washington, made it to Arkansas with your two boys. It's made a career here at the National Park. Orlando Rodriguez: Two boy and one girl. Timothy Webb: Two boys and a daughter, sorry. And found a career here at National Park College. And your children have all gotten college degrees and have careers of their own going. What a story. What a story of overcoming. And you've made it all the way here and now your children are thriving. Ana Rodriguez: Yes. It's amazing to us. We're so proud of them. Timothy Webb: Well, Ana and Orlando Rodriguez, thank you so much for sitting down with me today on Elevate. It's been wonderful talking to y'all. Y'all have an amazing story. Y'all really overcame and leveled up. And so, thank you so much for sharing. Ana Rodriguez: Thank you. Thank you, you guys, for inviting us. Timothy Webb: And thanks to all of you for listening to Elevate today from the Razorback Camper Sales Studio. New episodes are released each Thursday. Special thanks to National Park College and Signal Record for making this podcast possible. Until next time, this is Timothy Webb reminding you that every day is a chance to elevate.

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