Adrian Gonzalez Lazo
Interview conducted with Adrian Gonzalez Lazo on November 16, 2017 at Kentucky Refugee Ministries Office in Lexington, Kentucky. Student interviewers were Diajawan (DJ) Williams, Jajuan Stevens, and Maria Ramirez Cruz.
DJ: Today is November 16, 2017, and my name is DJ Williams. I am conducting an interview with Maria Ramirez and Jajuan Stevens. We are interviewing Adrian Gonzalez, who came to the United States as a refugee. This interview is for a research project on former refugees living in Central Kentucky on behalf of Martin Luther King Junior Academy, a school in Lexington, Kentucky. This interview is being monitored by my teacher Lisa Henry.
DJ: What is your name?
Adrian: My name is Adrian Gonzalez Lazo
DJ: What is your age?
Adrian: I am 26.
DJ: Where was you born?
Adrian: I born… uh… you ask about the day or the place?
DJ: Nah the place?
Adrian: In Havana, Cuba
DJ: What was your family like?
Adrian: Umm… it’s like umm … yeah, I am sorry. I am the only, only child. My mom and my father, my grandma, my uncle.
Lisa: Does your family still live in Cuba?
Jajuan: What was your uh best uh childhood experience?
Adrian: Uh, what?
Jajuan: Childhood experience?
Adrian: Uh, can you translate?
Maria: Uh, cual es tu mejor como recuerdo de nino?
Adrian: Umm wow. I have a lot because in Cuba when you are a kid, it’s… uh I don’t know… I uh I don’t know how to explain. It’s like you are free. In Cuba we don’t have a lot of violence, so we are playing. And um the best memory I can remember is when the first time when I went to the beach. Yeah it’s beautiful.
DJ: You want me to ask the next one?
Maria: Did you attend school in your home country, in Cuba?
Maria: Yeah. Did you go all through High school? Middle school?
Adrian: Yes, umm… I don’t know how you, uh… I don’t know how you can here. It’s like high school is twelfth grade.
DJ: Umm… can you describe some of your experiences in your home country?
Adrian: My experience in my Cuba?
DJ: Was it good?
Adrian: So really the life is not… is not so good because in Cuba we don’t have a lot you know. The president of Cuba Fidel Castro is like a uh I don’t know the word… “dictador” a dictator. He is a bad president. Umm, I am going to tell you about bad experiences with the police with sometimes the police is going to be like [UKNOWN STATEMENT]. They don’t care. They hold you and kick you and… [UKNOWN STATEMENT]. The best experience… yes… is a lot, uh I don’t know.
Jajuan: How old where you when this happened? When you left?
Adrian: Hmm I was 23.
Lisa: What caused you to leave Cuba?
Adrian: You’re asking what caused. What I do?
Lisa: Why you, why you left?
Adrian: I left Cuba because umm I want to get a better economy. You understand? Mm in Cuba you don’t have like a future. You work and work and work and you don’t have nothing. You know? And for the reason why I left Cuba and many people want to do that too because it’s... We are…. In Cuba people is they are my family you know in Cuba 100% but the life there is bad. It’s bad because it’s all kind of things you can’t get dreams of something because everything is uhh everything is the government has everything.
Maria: Did your family come with you when you came?
Maria: No? So you came by yourself?
Lisa: How did you, how did you come to America? Did you… You didn’t take a flight? Or how did you get here?
Adrian: No, um I was in Ecuador the fifth country that when I left Cuba I went to Ecuador. In Ecuador, I lived um one year and three months something like this and then I crossed on through South America for to get here.
Lisa: Wow, that’s a very long time. I’ve been to Equador and to go…
Adrian: Oh yeah/
Lisa: Yeah, I went to Huaquillas and then to go through all of Central America.
Adrian: Yes. Columbia, Panama, Costa Rica. In Costa Rica I got a plane and then the plane left me in Mexico, and then I crossed the… what do you call that they call it the north? The uhh… how do you call that? When you are cross the Equador, cuando vas a la frontera como se llame la frontera?
Maria: Like Texas?
Lisa: The border?
Maria: Yeah, the border.
Lisa: Umm… how long between the times you left Cuba until you were in the United States? How long was that process?
Adrian: Hmm… like generally like two years and a half, because I lived in Ecuador for 1 Year and 2 months.
Adrian: Yeah, but the travel to here to the United States was umm… sixteen days I think.
DJ: Where you placed in a refugee camp and if so, where was it?
Adrian: Umm… no, no sorry. I don’t understand what you say.
DJ : Oh, I’m sorry. Was you placed in a refugee camp?
Maria: A refugee camp is como un campo de refugees. No lo tuvieron en un campo?
Adrian: Umm no.
Maria: Okay, no, he wasn’t.
Adrian: We were... We were in prison. It’s not like prison, prison but when we were in Panama, they don’t want let you keep going to USA you know… and they just…they keep us there, but then they leave you.
DJ: How has living in the US or Kentucky or changed or impacted your life? How has it changed your life since you moved here?
Adrian: Ah yeah, yeah the change is… very huge and yes I love that here, man. Yeah.
DJ: Aw, you love it?
DJ: Uhh… What have you seen or experienced since you been here that made you love it more here?
Adrian: You know what um the people.
DJ: The people?
Adrian: Yeah, the people here is very nice.
Lisa: How long have you been in Kentucky?
Adrian: Uh… One year and three months
DJ: Um… what is your life like now? Uh… Work wise and you know, social life? For instance.
Lisa: Like do you have a job or do you go to school?
Adrian: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. I got a Job and I want go to school too.
DJ: You do? You do?
Adrian: No not yet.
DJ: Oh not yet?... Go ahead Maria.
Maria: Does your family live here with you…or is it you by yourself?
Maria: You live alone?
DJ: Umm… What do you want other people here to know about refugees? In Lexington or Kentucky or United States?
Adrian: You say that?
Lisa: Umm… if you could tell other people about refugees or persons who have come here to the U.S. what would you want them to now?
Adrian: Umm, I under- understand the question, but I don’t understand the point.
DJ: Yeah. Like [clears throat] if you could tell other people that’s not here like where you’re from, like if you could tell them basically….if you could tell them basically like what made you like it here if I could put it that way.
Adrian: About the good things here for somebody? Oh, umm, I don’t know…
DJ: Maybe how it looks?
Adrian: Because for me this, this country is like uh terrible man. It’s like, like we don’t have nothing that you have here in the United States, you know? Uhh… literally we don’t have things. We don’t have food everywhere yeah and it’s a lot of things, and in Cuba everybody, everybody in Cuba dreams with come here.
DJ: Right, right, right.
Lisa: Do you miss it?
Lisa: Do you miss it?
Adrian: A lot. I have not seen my family in four years.
Lisa: Wow. Are you able to email them or call them?
Adrian: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, um video chat. You know it’s not the same way as when you get a hug.
Lisa: Right. Definitely.
DJ: Um how long has it been since you have seen your family?
Adrian: No, no I don’t understand.
DJ: Oh how long has it been since like you been home basically. How long you been here?
Maria: Cual es la ultima ves que veo a su familia?
Adrian: Um, um four years ago?
DJ: Anything else? Do you all have anything you guys want to add?
Maria: Uh do you have any children?
Maria: No children?
Jajuan: Do you have any friends here?
Adrian: Yes, I have Cuban friends and American friends in every country.
Lisa: There is a large Cuban population in Louisville. Have you gone to Louisville at all?
Adrian: Yeah I been. I have a couple friends that I go to. I know I know I know how to go to uh places with Cuban food. I don’t get to…
Lisa: Have you gone to old San Juan?
Adrian: Old San Juan, Old San Juan… yeah it’s here.
Adrian. It’s yeah, yeah, yeah…
Lisa: Yes it’s good. I don’t know if it’s authentic but it’s….
Adrian: Have you, no have you eat there?
Lisa: It’s been a couple years but yeah do you think it’s like real Cuban food?
Adrian: Yeah, no yeah. (laughter)
Lisa: It was good.
DJ: Do you have anything else you want to add?
DJ: Do you have anything else you want to add Jajuan?
Lisa: Is there anything else you want to share?
Adrian: Umm, I don’t know. Umm thank you. Umm I don’t know. This country is good, and thank you for this interview.