The tree smells like mint. It looks really healthy. It is strong and has green leaves. It is really beautiful, and it looks like it is going to live for a long time. I hope so. What makes it so beautiful is the leaves and my tata put a fake face on it and it is really funny. That's what makes it beautiful. The face looks really cute, and it is made out of wood and cardboard and he and I made it last year. It looked like when it was a baby tree it had a little bit of leaves like three leaves, it was really tiny, and it took us nine years to get it this big. My mom and all of my family members planted a baby tree in front of my nana’s house. They did that because my nana was in the hospital and the tree was for good luck. The tree made her healthy and strong through her surgery. It gave her good luck because all of us were wishing for it. My nana, my tío, and everybody was happy. One time I broke my arm, and that tree gave me good luck. I am perfect now, and the tree is big. The tree gave me good luck by praying to it. The tree is there now so if someone gets hurt, the tree brings them good luck. I love that tree so much. It holds good memories for my family.
The tree gives a lot of people good luck when they are doing something bad, or they are in danger. I feel a tingling in my body when the tree is protecting me or giving me good luck. I am so grateful for having my family because if I didn’t, I would not have that much good luck. How my family gives me good luck: because if I did not have them, I probably would not have the tree and the tree protects me. I love the tree. I love my family. My family says that the tree is a part of my family. My family goes on hikes, camping, just goes to dinner together, has cook outs or parties. My family parties are really fun and during the cookouts we have games to play like Uno, Monopoly, and a lot of different games and the food is really good. We eat, like, Carnitas, Menudo, Tamales. The tree will always be a part of my family and nobody could stop being from my family. The tree helps a lot of people and I am grateful for that. I love you, tree. You are like my family member.
Javier Heredia is a student at the Paolo Freire Freedom School.
Voices from Paolo Freire features essays from middle school students at the Paolo Freire Freedom School in Tucson, AZ. These essays were written during a series of workshops with classroom teacher Adrian Provenzano and Writing the Community teaching artist Raquel Gutiérrez.