Immigrants have been long migrating to the United States for many generations. The stories of hairdresser/multi-business owner Silvia Cuba and dentist Moussa Haddad are in the list-full of individuals who had made the journey from their home to the United States for their own reasons. Some immigrants come for religious freedom, a fresh start with the hopes of succeeding, providing for their families, just to name a few. Many have faced difficult times with circumstances such as adjusting and the cultural shift that is felt almost immediately. Times like our modern day are significant, especially for those who decide to uproot everything for a change of scenery. With the political landscape that we as a society deal with now puts these sort of situations into perspective. The two of many immigrant stories to tell, what will be shared are tales of finding prosperous opportunities and the best chance to have a new start.
Silvia Cuba’s journey to the United States started when she was living in Peru with her children. She had a small gift shop back home in the town of Chimbote, Peru. Life in Peru was not always pleasant and Silvia knew that all too well. Young and essentially on her own with her young children, took a chance and moved to the United States looking for financial success and happiness. With the transition to a new place came struggles and one to name was language. Silvia Cuba elaborated further, “I was new here… I had to learn English… I was working and little by little I learned”.
She had worked many small jobs to make money, to name a few positions, cleaning houses as well as cleaning salons and working a short time at the fast food restaurant Wendy’s. Eventually, she decided to open her own hair dressing business with the help of her daughter, Claudia, who is also her business partner. Through her hard work and drive, she opened a second hair salon location and even acquired a carwash.
A few characteristics that be highly relatable to Silvia are hardworking, determined and business-oriented. Silvia’s daughter and business partner, Claudia, explained that on important decisions regarding situations such as finding places to live, Silvia is “such a business-oriented person, and she was like, ‘let’s do it’”. Claudia went into further about how determined her mom was that while they were starting their business “we didn’t have all the money for the construction so we were paying and working, paying and working”, stated , Claudia.
This business-oriented mindset is important to her and what she was most proud of was “working with people, you learn how to be a better person because your work differs when you work with different people and its me a better person and mom, I also teach my kids through this”.
Moussa Haddad’s journey to the United States was not as difficult in comparison to Silvia’s. He had grown up in Syria, stating that he had “a great and normal childhood…children around the block gathered every day and played together until sunset”. He had immigrated with his parents and sibling when he was young. Having some family made his transition not as challenging, however, it was not as if he had faced no challenges at all. An example of the challenges he felt that he had faced was the “difference between American and Syrian culture, language was an issue…school system is also different”.
Moussa had stated throughout that it was the “hard work and dedication” that he put forth that made life better for him. His direction in life followed in the footsteps of his older sibling which lead him to enrolling at New Jersey City University and eventually at New York University. “Watching him do dentistry made me realize that I like making people smile”, explained, Moussa Haddad, dentist. With this in mind, he dedicated his time working for other dental practices learning the ins and outs of owning a business until he felt that he had “no more room to grow working for someone else”, Moussa detailed.
Silvia and Moussa both had some advice that they wanted to give any young immigrant with the intent of coming to America. “If you can dream it, you can do it”, Silvia concluded. “Always follow your dreams and just remember, you can do it”, added Moussa. With a purpose of focusing on what you want to do, you aspirations and desires can be made a reality with hard work.