Raffet & Rita

Lincoln, NE

“We want our kids to understand their heritage, and I will teach them Spanish.”

Raffet’s Story

I was born and grew up in Mexico City, and I went to college there. I come from a humble background: neither one of my parents went to college. My dad was a technician. My parents encouraged me to leave Mexico, and eventually I ended up here. I came here to attend the University of Nebraska­Lincoln in 1996 for grad school, and I liked the place. It is where I met Rita in 2000, and we have been together ever since.

Growing up, I didn’t know that I would end up in the U.S., but I knew that the injustice that I saw in Mexico. Injustice exists everywhere, but it was more augmented there. If your family doesn’t have any money or if you belong to a certain class, then you end up on the wrong side of the deal. In America, though, people already have preconceived ideas about who a Mexican person is. For the first couple of years here I was very sheltered because I was at the university, but my overall experience here in Nebraska has been very positive. I know about my grandfather on each side of my family. But I do not know about my great grandparents or what they did. I know they were from Mexico; they were “Mestizos.” We want our kids to understand their heritage, and I will teach them Spanish.

Rita’s Story

I met Raffet dancing. He was a really good dancer. But he had a really bad haircut, like a porcupine haircut. He used to wear those Bill Cosby sweaters, shiny shoes with tassels on them, and the glasses that change color when you go outside.

My family ancestrally is Czech and Irish but they’re from Nebraska. The way my family came to the United States is a typical Irish famine story. A lot of them came and settled in Pennsylvania for a while. Eventually, they got to Nebraska.

I first became connected to Latin American culture when I was studying political science and economics in college. My roommate owed me some money and she said, “I don’t have any money, but I’ll give you this book.” I said ”OK.” It was called “Inevitable Revolutions.” I actually went to Spain that summer and read it on the beach. It was about foreign policy in Latin America, and that really got me on the topic. Then when I graduated from college, I ended up doing my master’s in International affairs with a focus in Latin American studies. After my master’s I signed up to work with the Peace Corps.


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