Odalis Elliott-Bastian

From: Colón, Panama  Current City: Willmar, MN
"The culture, diversity, customs, and traditions are so different back in Panama than they are here is the U.S. That’s one of the things I do miss from my country."
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Odalis Elliott-Bastian spent the first 23 years of her life living in Panama before taking a leap and immigrating to the U.S. Despite the initial hardships she faced, she has thrived in her new homeland.

Ms. Elliott-Bastian was born in Colón, Panama. She grew up in an English-speaking household and attending a Spanish-speaking school, allowing her to learn both languages. She met a member of the American military who was stationed on Panama, and the two married. She moved to the U.S. with her new husband in 1986.

When Ms. Elliott-Bastian first arrived in the U.S., she spent a few months in New York before settling down in Minnesota. Living in the Midwest was a huge adjustment for her. It was especially hard being black in a predominantly white community. Odalis also began to miss the customs and traditions she had known in Panama.

Currently, Ms. Elliott-Bastian works as an outreach worker for the Heartland Community Action Agency, a career she finds very fulfilling. In addition to her professional life, Odalis loves to dance, especially to Latin music. She has helped several members of her family immigrate to the U.S. as well, including her niece, nephew, and mother. Ms. Elliott Bastian lives in Willmar, MN.

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