A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA


A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA


A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA


From El Salvador to Azusa: Eduardo Argueta’s odyssey toward his American Dream

Sav Vivanco
Illustration drawn by Sav Vivanco (@scruffiandraws on Instagram)

“I sold everything I owned in El Salvador to have money to come over here – I grabbed my bag and my son and left,” Eduardo Argueta said.

At an intersection some 3000 miles from his home, Argueta clocks in to work like any other working man. The corner of Azusa and Gale avenues is where Argueta spends hours cleaning windshields for tips and donations.

On a narrow lane divider that is no wider than 2-feet, Argueta offers his windshield cleaning service to weary commuters in exchange for whatever generosity drivers are willing to spare him.

Despite the mundane nature and perception of cleaning windshields, Argueta has a myriad of challenges to navigate in the 60 to 90 second lifespan of a red light.

Argueta, first, has to get the attention of the commuters who try their best to ignore his attempts to make his presence known. If a driver does want their windshield clean, Argueta sprays the window with a cleaning solution he makes and begins to meticulously wipe the windshield until the it is left spotless and devoid of every speck and smudge.

While washing each car, Argueta needs to stay on his toes being close to the hectic upcoming traffic. Making sure to dodge or move from the cars is the normal to ensure his safety.

He does not set a price for his service, he graciously welcomes whatever contribution given to him.

“I tell them thank you and that I am very appreciative, and that little by little I make a living,” Argueta said. “I know I might have to spend all day here, but it’s all about the effort I put in. I tried to have the best attitude.”

Aware of the potential risks of working so close to vehicles moving at high speeds, he makes sure to protect himself at all times. He is no stranger to risk, facing no bigger risk than the one he and his son took when they left their home for the U.S.

Originally from El Salvador, Argueta described his journey as an “odyssey.” To get here, he sacrificed his old life in search of a better life for him and his son.

Leaving behind his family, career and friends, Argueta and his son left El Salvador searching for their own version of the American dream.

Argueta traveled an eight-month journey to cross into the United States. From crossing rivers to get to Mexico and having to live and work there for months, Argueta was not going to give up on his goal of reaching the U.S.

“The easy part is leaving El Salvador and crossing Guatemala, you can cross it by bus,” Argueta said. “The hard part is crossing into Mexico. I started in Tapachula. The first part is jumping into a river and crossing it. It’s a whole odyssey, the same people that cross you charge you. If you just pay them to cross the river they’ll just leave there and it’s a bit dangerous.”

Argueta continued to recount his journey through Mexico to the U.S.

“I crossed Mexico in three stages,” Argueta said. “I started in Tapachula and resided there for two to three months. I then traveled to Guanajuato, stayed there for another two to three months and saved up enough money to travel to the border in Piedras Negras. I waited another 2 months to cross with my son seeking political asylum.”

Argueta doesn’t plan on cleaning windshields forever; he dreams of owning a mobile detailing business.



“I have many dreams, I think one of the last things you should do is stop dreaming because if you don’t dream, you will never advance.”

— Eduardo Argueta



“I want to have a business, I would really like to have a mobile detail service,” he said.

Argueta makes sure to spend his money wisely and rather save than spend. He doesn’t buy the latest shoes or clothes, but rather sets aside the money he earns to save it.

Argueta is uncertain about how long he will be working on the corner, but one thing he is certain is that he will work hard every day to improve his and his child’s life.

View Comments (1)

Comments (1)

All SACMedia Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • L

    Lora LawhornApr 5, 2024 at 11:27 am

    I love the art work!