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National Hispanic Heritage Month: In their own words (Part 4)

Denver Water construction team member shares his story and experiences that have shaped his life.

Denver Water is very proud of our diverse workforce. We asked a few of our employees to share in their own words what National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, means to them and how their culture and backgrounds have provided inspiration to their lives.

Carlos Solis and his wife, Bianca.

Carlos Pech Solis, Construction Tech

I am originally from Mexico, from a town in the Yucatán, by Cancún, called Mérida. My family is Mayan, and my mother and grandmother came from a village where they only spoke Mayan. I learned Spanish in school and occasionally learned different Mayan words from my family, although my mother and grandmother wouldn’t teach me Mayan because they wanted talk to each other without me understanding!

One of the Mayan legends I heard as a child was about “La Ilorona,” the weeping woman, who walked through the jungle during storms when there was lightning and rain. In our family, the adults would tell the children she was coming to get us unless we were good.

I came to the United States about 25 years ago because my uncle lived and worked here in Denver as a physician’s assistant. He encouraged me to come visit, and then encouraged me to stay here because he felt it was a great opportunity for me. My brother and sister still live in Mérida. I visit them at least once a year.

One of my favorite Mayan dishes is cochinita pibil, where we take pork, marinate it with citrus and spices, and wrap it in banana leaves and slowly roast it. When I bring it into work to share over the holidays, everyone loves it and it always disappears fast!

My wife, Bianca, and I have been married for 23 years. We met when I was taking English classes — and she was my teacher! We wanted to start a family and my wife found out she had lupus, an auto-immune disease where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue.

To learn more about lupus, I took classes at the Community College of Denver in the nursing assistant program. Now I can help take care of her.

My uncle always told me to work hard and encouraged me to do better for myself and my family, something I remember to this day. He was like a brother to me, and my son, David, who I call “my lucky one,” is named after him.

People always ask me, “Why are you always smiling?” Years ago, I made a decision to be happy. When I smile at someone, even if they’re having a bad day, they almost always smile back. We have had to deal with a lot of change, but instead of complaining about it, my philosophy is to just go with it.

I like my job at Denver Water because every day is different. I get to go to all our different locations to do work, and it’s great to see so many things.