Tuesday, February 26, 2008

American Dream.

Hi, today's New York Times was showing on its first page the story of an African child born in Ireland, Irish citizen with both the parents with the status of illegal, living every day under the threat to be deported. This story gave me the idea to tell you about a chat I had with a guy -we can call him Rodrigo- couple of months ago that I wrote down... here's his story.
Rodrigo left Zaragoza -the place where he was born 25 years ago- on Sept. 11 2007. He left around midnight and got a bus to go to Mexico City where he arrived around 7.00am. He was with other 10 people -three of them girls- bringing with him just a jacket and a pair of pants, he was at the beginning of the longest trip of his life. In Mexico City he took a plane to a site closer to the United States' border. The day he arrived was extremely hot, he and the other guys had to move very quickly... just out the Mexico City's airport they took 2 cars (for 11 people plus drivers) in a 110 degrees day. Obviously the cars didn't have any a/c so the 8 hours trip was extremely tiring and hot like the hell, imagine that after a flight and a 7 hours bus to get Mexico City. The cars just stopped once, there was no so much time as you can imagine. They got the arrive night time, because everything in this trip is perfectly organized. During night time not so much peple can see you if you quickly get out from a car to get into a house.
Rodrigo entered in a very big house, there was a terrible smell and everywhere garbage and rats, the only one big room was full of dirty mattresses, and there were three floors. That was the place where they supposed to spend the night and take a rest, was a sort of 50 bed room, with no lights, no heat, no windows... just mattresses. Rodrigo and his friends were very tired and hungry, he told me he couldn't smell himself. They had some soda and a couple of tuna's cans after a while they got out to find something better to eat. Their guides broght them to eat in a safe place close to the house, that's been the last dinner in their own country. As they came back to the house they had 2 hours to prepare the bag that the guides gave them, a special car brought them to a 24hrs market where Rodrigo bought: 2 gallons of water, 2 big bottles of coke, powder flavours, aspirins, alchool, lots of fruits and cucumbers, 5 big black garbage bags, a lot of tuna and garlic. That's what you need if you'd like to survive a 7 days walk through the desert! They were also required to wear just black induments. When they finished to full the bags they had a couple of hours to sleep, Rodrigo told me he couldn't close his eyes, he was too much excited and afraid about what was waiting for him. At the sun rise two black cabs brought them to the real border, they had to follow a few but really important rules: walk in a perfect line, one of the guides at the beginning and the other at the end of it, nobody talk, never, for any reason, complete silence. They got the real border only at the sunset, they waited the dark and passed it, and started to walk. Rodrigo told me that he was really amazed about the two guides perfect knowledge of the place. They were able to find the hole in a miles long wire netting, during the black night of the desert...Rodrigo couldn't beleve how smart and professional were the guides, he told me he couldn't see the person behind him how deep was the dark.
The long walk was a nightmare, one of the girls felt down many times, they used alchool and water to help her, they could walk during the night only...this way could make the mosquitos' work more difficult, they used to call mosquito the helicopters of the border police. They have been walking everyday since 9pm to 6 am, no interruption, sleeping just a couple of hours between the sunrise and the first morning, the gap between extremely cold and extremely hot. During the rest of the whole day, they used to find the way to desappear in the center of anything...under a tree (Mexican desert doesn't look like the Sahara) or, if lucky, a stone. Before sleeping they had to put the garlic all around their body because the snakes don't like the smell of it. They walked and walked, night after night and finally they got a big road, was the end, their dream was very close to become true. They had to walk other 2 nights after that, the guides told them that once arrived to the big road the trip was finished just to give them the power to go ahead, psycologically. Smart guides. The trip was finished when the guides told them to change the dresses, get out the blacks and put on the 'civil' ones. They gave the old dresses and the bags on fire and separated each others. One pair of jeans and a jacket was everything he had once inside United States, when he told me this story he was wearing a confortable North Face jacket and a pair of i-pod earphones. His eyes were full of hope and good vibrations, once again I felt that America is not just war and bad CIA agents, America also represent the sincere happyness of this guy. Writing this story I don't support illegal immigration, I support humanity and happyness... maybe next time you get out for a dinner you'll think that the guy who is washing your plate is a kind of... hero. Thank you for your time and attention.

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