Los Viajes- a literary anthology


root - Posted on 01 January 2000

For a year and a half POOR Magazine conducted free bi-lingual, multi-generational, art and writing workshops in shelters, schools and community centers with migrant poverty scholars from across the globe to be included in the audio and print anthology called Los Viajes..Los Viajes introduces a new lens on migration of peoples across Pacha Mama informed by the UN Declaration on Indigenous Peoples

Por un ano y medio Prensa POBRE ha conducido talleres de arte y escritura, bilingues y multi-generacional gratis en refugios, escuelas, y centros comunitarios con sabios de la pobreza y emigracion de todo el mundo, para ser incluidos en esta antologia imprimada y grabada, llamada Los Viajes. Los Viajes introduce un lente nuevo sobre la emigracion y la inmigracion de la gente a traves la Pacha Mama informado por la Declaracion de las Naciones Unidas sobre la Gente Indigena.

Please click here to go to the POOR Press Order Form to purchase Los Viajes. Thank you for your support.

 

For a year and a half POOR Magazine conducted free bi-lingual, multi-generational, art and writing workshops in shelters, schools and community centers with migrant poverty scholars from across the globe to be included in the audio and print anthology called Los Viajes..Los Viajes introduces a new lens on migration of peoples across Pacha Mama informed by the UN Declaration on Indigenous Peoples

Por un ano y medio Prensa POBRE ha conducido talleres de arte y escritura, bilingues y multi-generacional gratis en refugios, escuelas, y centros comunitarios con sabios de la pobreza y emigracion de todo el mundo, para ser incluidos en esta antologia imprimada y grabada, llamada Los Viajes. Los Viajes introduce un lente nuevo sobre la emigracion y la inmigracion de la gente a traves la Pacha Mama informado por la Declaracion de las Naciones Unidas sobre la Gente Indigena.

Please click here to go to the POOR Press Order Form to purchase Los Viajes. Thank you for your support.

 
 

by Staff Writer

La siguiente historia de "Chispita" es un extracto de las muchas historias de viaje de gran alcance incluido en Los Viajes - una antologia literaria de la resistencia

The following story of "Chispita" is an excerpt from the many powerful journey stories included in Los Viajes - a literary anthology of resistance

For English Scroll Down

De Oaxaca, Mexico....
por Chispita

Aqui estoy. Sentada en todo lo que tengo, una banca publica, viendo a mi nino Jesus con lagrimas en sus ojos. Le duele mucho, se puede ver. Sus ojitos me miran pidiendo ayuda, trato con todo mi ser no mostrar en la cara desesperacion, y me es imposible evitar que las lagrimas rueden por mis mejillas tan abundantes como cascadas. Yo volteo hacia arriba por ayuda, y veo que los pasillos se hacen interminables, las bancas crecen al tamano de paredes, y las luces fluorescentes casi me ciegan. Oigo los pasos de miles de gente, siento el temblor de las turbinas, y miro las caras de todas estas personas. Todos contentos, se van de vacaciones, o quizas visitar a su familia. Todos arrastran equipaje y saben para donde van. Todos menos yo.

"Ma, Ma"

"No llores Chui, ya casi vienen por nosotros."

�Donde estaran? Ya son cuatro horas y todavia no llegan. Chui esta muy grave y necesitamos ayuda. Veo sus ojos y hay tanto dolor. Que hago? Han pasado horas desde que comimos algo pero ya se me acabo la lana. �Que hago? Duermete Chui, duermete.

Nunca habia pensado que un aeropuerto en Tijuana me pudiera dar tanta angustia. Mi nieto y yo estamos a miles de millas de casa y ya solo queda continuar con nuestro viaje, pero mi cuerpo se estremece al momento de pensar que no vamos a sobrevivir. Mi Chui ya estaba enfermo cuando nos subieron al avion para aca, y su condicion solo empeora. Ya le llame a mi contacto que nos dijo que pronto nos iban a recoger, pero eso hace cinco horas. Quizas aqui nos vamos a quedar toda la noche, en el aeropuerto de Tijuana

"Senora.Senora. Despierte Senora."

"�Si?"

"�Eres, Chispita?"

"Si"

"Finalmente llegaron! Chui despiertate. Subimos a un van y nos llevaron a una casa cerca de la frontera. En pocas horas se llevarian a Chui que estaba aun mas palido para cruzar en coche. Ha llegado la hora de despedirnos. Me duele muchisimo que se lleven a mi nieto, pero si se queda aqui, en esta casa conmigo de seguro se morira. Chui no queria irse, y mucho menos despedirse de mi. Sus ojitos nublados me miraban y lloraban. Nos abrasamos fuerte y yo le prometi que pronto nos volveriamos a ver, y tambien veria a su mama. El abrio sus brazos y me abrazo una ultima vez. Lo metieron a un coche y se fueron. Su manita y su rostro no dejo de voltear hasta que desaparecio en la carreteara.

En ese momento, parada alli en esa calle, todas mis preocupaciones y miedos se manifestaron en mi cuerpo en un rio de lagrimas. Llore y llore hasta que la duena de la casa salio y me abrazo. Me dijo que Chui estaria bien. Su nombre era Amalia, y estaba enferma. Me dijo que para ella que estaba enferma y mayor, ya no habia esperanza, pero en el caso de Chui, me dijo que el esta enfermo y es un nino, por lo menos tiene la esperanza de sobrevivir por estar joven y su cuerpo resistira mas. Amalia tenia un tumor en su estomago y sufria de depresion.

La Noche De Fiesta

Despues de una semana de que se llevaron a Chui, Amalia me dio un regalo de sorpresa, un vestido de fiesta. Primero, no supe porque me habia regalado un vestido de fiesta y casi me olvido dar gracias, casi.

"Muchas Gracias por el vestido Amalia, pero, �cuando me voy a vestir tan bonita? �A caso vamos a ir a una fiesta?"

"Es tu vestido de despedida... y de entrada."

"Despedida y entrada? como?"

"Bueno, te despides de mi, y entras a los Estados Unidos para reunirte con Chui."

"No entiendo. Quiero ver a mi Chui y me encanta el vestido, pero no veo como este vestido me va llevar cerca a mi Chui."

"Manana, te van a venir a recoger unos compas mios. Todos van a estar vestidos para una fiesta. Van a llegar a la frontera, y van a caminar sobre el puente hacia una fiesta en los Estados Unos. Asi de facil."

Se oia tan facil. Simplemente voy a ir a la frontera, caminar sobre el puente, sonreir al agente de migracion, y cruzar como que si fuera ciudadana. Se oia tan facil, pero esta nueva situacion me provocaba movimientos en el estomago y un virtigo en la cabeza. Llego la noche y el coche de fiesta me esperaba.

"No te preocupes nina, vas a cruzar, y vas a estar cerca de Chui otra vez."

"Gracias Amalia, por todo. Que Dios te lo page, y nunca te voy a olvidar."

Amalia me acompano al coche, nos despedimos, y nunca la volvi a ver. En el coche habia un silencio incomodo flotando entre los dos hombres, la mujer que estaba a la par mia. Yo se que sabian que yo era la mas nerviosa del grupo. Se acerco la mujer. "No se preocupe senora, nosotros estamos en mas peligro que usted. Jure no hacer esto nunca pero su nino me conmovio y deseo que pronto este con el. Esa enfermedad si es curable. Dios le va ayudar."

Llegamos a la frontera en lo que se sintio un viaje de dos minutos. No se si la casa de Amalia estaba tan cerca o mi sentido del tiempo se habia ido con mi mente, pero llegamos a la frontera y todas las luces, los coches, los retenes, y el puente me recordio en mi estomago que yo no estaba lista. Corri al bano para vomitar pero no salia nada. Esperaba que si me salia el vomito, me iba a sentir mejor, pero no paso asi. Intente e intente a vomitar, y no salia nada mas saliva y cada vez que intentaba me senti aun mas mareada. La ultima vez que trate de vomitar, ya ni sentia que estaba parada en piso fijo, sentia como que estaba flotando sin control en un mar tormentoso de todas mis preocupaciones y temor. En medio de esta tormenta oi que entro alguien al bano. Era la mujer.

"�Que pasa Gloria? Todos te estamos esperando. Mira, no te preocupes, hay tanta gente pasando ahorita y a ninguno de ellos los pararon. No mas tienes que pensar y creer que vas a una fiesta. Ponte en ambiente de fiesta y no te van a parar. Encomiendate a Dios... Pero si te detienen, no nos conocemos, solo regrasate y lo volvemos a intentar."

Sali del bano con la mujer, era tanto mi panico, que no recuerdo su nombre. Pero sus palabras me ayudaron bastante. Me concentre en lo que tendria que hacer para estar junto a Chui. Tendria que actuar como una dama de fiesta que la unica preocupacion en su mente es verse bella, y divertirse. Tendria que actuar como que las ultimas semanas de mi vida incluyendo esta noche, casi no me matan. Tendria que actuar como si no tuviera un nieto enfermo que dependia de mi al otro lado de esta frontera. Tendria que actuar como si no fuera yo.

No se cuanto tiempo me tarde en ese bano porque mi realidad en esos momentos fue como que si estuviera mirando una pelicula de suspenso, en la cual yo era la artista. Antes de salir del bano, si recuerdo pidiendole a Dios que me ayudara en ese momento.

Sali del bano con una sonrisa y con un paso que casi bailaba. Yo iba a una fiesta y estaba muy emocionada. Pase cerca del grupo y casi no me reconocian hasta que logre ver la mujer y en sus ojos esos destellos de bondad que siempre nos damos las mujeres, "gracias," le dije y continue actuando. Caminamos en el puente hacia las oficinas de inmigracion riendonos y gozandonos. Llegamos hasta adonde paran a las personas, y les piden sus identificaciones. Recuerdo que cinco pasos antes de llegar a ese poste adonde estaba el agente de inmigracion, mi risa se paro.

Empece a pensar en Chui, y sabia que si yo no tenia exito al cruzar esta noche, estaria solo con esos tremendos dolores. Senti que me desmayaba al pensar que me detendrian. Uno de los hombres del grupo me vio que caminaba mas lenta y con la cabeza abajo. Estaba a dos pasos del poste. El tiempo se congelo, y voltio a ver el hombre. Su sonrisa me recordo que ibamos a una fiesta. Vi que ya habian pasado la mujer y el otro hombre ahorra solo faltabamos nosotros. Un paso del poste. El hombre a la par mia, dijo algo para llamar a sus compas, pero solo se rieron y continuaron caminando. El se rio, y finalmente estabamos en frente del poste. El tiempo se congelo otra vez. El agente nos dio una mirada de pies a cabeza. Yo trate de sonreir... y no desmayarme. Muchos sentimientos se revolvian en mi cerebro y la tierra de oportunidad para todos, para mi era la oportunidad de apoyar a Chui, y proveerle la atencion medica que el necesitaba.

Volvi al poste. Mire hacia el agente, y no sabia si todavia me estaba sonriendo. Los ojos del agente miraban hacia atras de nosotros. Voltee a ver. Era un grupo grande, y se miraban borrachos. Los ojos helados de ese agente me miraban una vez mas. Sin quitar la mirada nos dio una sena con su mano, una sena que nos comunico que continuemos. El tiempo se congelo una vez mas. Este momento de mi vida nunca lo voy a olvidar. Lo hice. Si que continue a caminar, pero no sentia mis pies. No sentia mi cuerpo. Solo sentia mi alma saltando en mi corazon, y sali en mi cuerpo en forma de lagrimas.

No me recuerdo mucho mas de esa noche. Pero ahora que me recuerdo, si era una noche de fiesta, para mi. Mi alma gozaba que pronto estaria apoyando a Chui. Mi alma gozaba ya en este pais, tendria la oportunidad de seguir luchando para mantener a Chui sano. Mi alma gozaba porque esa noche en la frontera de Tijuana, tuve la fuerza de sobrevivir, y es con esa misma fuerza que hasta hoy he sobrevivido en este pais.

Ingles Sigue

Here I am. Sitting on all I have, a public bench, watching my child Jesus with tears in his eyes. It hurts him a lot, it shows. His little eyes stare at me asking for help. I try with all my being to not show desperation on my face, and it is impossible for me to avoid the tears that roll down my cheeks as abundantly as cascades. I turn my head upwards seeking help, and I notice how the hallways become indeterminable, the benches grow the size of walls, and the florescent lights almost blind me, I hear the footsteps of thousands of people, I feel the tremor of the turbines, and I stare at faces of all of those people. All of them happy, they are going on vacations, or maybe to visit their family. They all drag their luggage and they know where they are going. Everyone except for me.

"Ma, Ma"

"Don not cry Chui, they are almost here for us."

Where can they be? It has been almost four hours and they still do not arrive. Chui is in very critical condition and we need help. I see his eyes and there is so much pain. What can I do? Hours have passed since we last had something to eat but I have run out of cash. What can I do? "Sleep Chui, sleep." Never did I think that an airport in Tijuana could ever give me such anguish. My grandson and I are thousands of miles from home and continuing our journey is the only thing that is left, but my body shakes at the moment when I consider that we might not make it. My Chui was already very ill when they put us on the plane headed here, and his condition only worsens. I already called my contact that told me that they would soon be here to pick us up, but that was five hours ago. Perhaps we will stay here the whole night, in the airport of Tijuana.

"Senora. Senora. Wake up Senora."

"Yes"

Are you Chispita?

"Yes"

Finally! They arrived! "Wake up Chui." We get in a van and they took us to a house near the border. In a few hours they would take Chui, who looked even paler, so that he can cross by car. The time had come for us to say goodbye. It hurts me so much when they take my grandson, but I know that if he stayed with me in this house he will surely die.

Chui did not want to go, and much less say goodbye to me. His blurry eyes stared at me and cried. We hugged tightly and I promised him that we would see each other again, and that he would also see his mom. He opened his arms and gave me one last hug.

They put him in a car and they left. His little hand and face did not stop turning towards me until they disappeared on the highway. In that moment, standing there on that road, all of my worries and fears manifested themselves in my body as a river of tears. I cried and I cried until the owner of the house came out and gave me a hug. She told me that Chui would be ok. Her name was Amalia, and she was ill. She told me that since she was an elder and ill, there was no hope for her, but in Chui's case, well he is sick, but he is a child, at least he has the hope of surviving because he is young and his body will resist more. Amalia had a tumor is her stomach and suffered from depression.

The Night of the Party

After the week that Chui was taken, Amalia gave me a surprise gift, a party dress. At first I did not know why she had given me a surprise gift, and I almost forgot to give her thanks, almost.

"Thank you very much for the dress Amalia, but when am I going to get dressed up so pretty? Or are we actually going to a party?"

"It is your dress of farewell, and of entry."

"Farewell and entry? How?"

"Well, you will say farewell to me and enter the United States to reunite with Chui."

"I do not understand, I want to see my Chui and I love the dress, but I do not see how this dress can help me get close to my Chui."

"Tomorrow several friends of mine will come to pick you up. All of them will be dressed for a party. They will arrive to the border, and they will walk along the bridge to a party in the U.S... It is as easy as that."

It sounded so easy. I will simply cross the border, walk along the bridge, smile to the immigration agent, and cross as if I was a citizen. It sounded so easy, but this new situation provoked movement in my stomach and a vertigo in my head. The following day, night time came and the party car was waiting for me.

"Do not worry girl, you will cross and you will be close to Chui once again."

"Thank you again for everything Amelia. May God repay you, I will never forget you."

In the car there was an uncomfortable silence floating amongst the two men, the woman was on my side. I knew that they knew that I was the most nervous one of the group. The woman came close.

"Do not worry senora, we are even in more danger tan you are. I swore to never do this, but the situation your child has moved me and I wish that you will soon be with him. That sickness is curable. God will help you."

We reached the border in what seemed a two minute trip. I do not know if Amalia's home is really that close or if my sense of time has left along with my mind, but we arrived to at the border and all of the lights, the cars, the check points, and the bridge reminded me in my stomach that I was not ready. I ran to the bathroom to throw up but nothing came out. I was waiting for the vomit to come out, I would feel better then, but it did not turn out that way. I tried and tried to throw up and nothing but saliva would come out and I felt even dizzier. The last time I tried to vomit, I did not even feel that I was stepping on the firm ground, I felt as if I was floating without control, in a tumultuous ocean of all my worries and fears. In between all this torment I heard that someone came into the bathroom. It was the woman.

"What is going on Gloria? Everyone is waiting for you. Look, do not worry, there are so many people passing right now and none of them were stopped. You only have to think and believe that you are going to a party. Get in a party going mood and they will not stop you. Entrust yourself to God, but if they stop you, we do not know each other, just return and we will try again."

The woman left the bathroom. My panic was so much that I forgot her name. But her words helped me so much. I concentrated on what I had to do to be with Chui. I had to act as if I was a lady going to a party, who's only concern was to look beautiful and have fun. I would have to act as if the last few weeks of my life including this night did not almost kill me. I would have to act as if I did not have an ill grandson that depended on me on the other side of that border. I would have to act as if I was not myself.

I am not sure how long I took in that bathroom because my reality in those moments was as if I was looking at a movie in suspense, it which I was the actress. Before leaving the bathroom, I do remember asking God to help me in that moment. I came out of that bathroom with a smile and with a step that almost danced. I was going to a dance and I was very excited. I walked close to the group and they almost did not recognize me until I was able to see the woman, and her eyes sparkled with the type of kindness that woman always give each other-- "thank you," I told her, and I continued acting. We walked on the bridge towards the immigration offices, laughing and having a good time. We came all the way up to where they stop people and ask for their identification. I remember that within five steps of reaching that post where the immigration agent was, and my smile stopped.

I began to think of Chui, and I knew that if I did not succeed in crossing that night, I would only be left with those horrible pains. I thought I would pass out at the idea of being detained. One of the men in group noticed that I walked more slowly and with my head down. I was at two steps of the post. Time froze and I turned towards that man. His smile reminded me that we were going to a party. I saw how the other woman and man had already passed and now we were the only ones left. One step to the post. The man on my side told something to stop his friends, but they only laughed and continued walking. He laughed and finally we were in front of the post. Time froze once again. The agent gave us a look from our feet to our heads. I tried to smile, and I did not faint. Many feelings were mixing in my brain. The land of opportunity for all of us, for me it was the land of opportunity to help Chui and to help give him the medical attention that he would need.

I returned to the post. I looked towards the agent, and I did not know if I was still smiling. The eyes of the agent looked past us. I turned to look. It was a large group, and they looked drunk. The cold eyes of the agent stared at me once again. Without removing his stare he gave us a sign with his hand, a sign that communicated that we continue. Time froze once again. I will never forget this moment in my life. I made it. I know that I continued walking, but I could not feel my feet. I did not feel my body. I only felt my spirit jumping in my heart, and came out of my body in the form of tears.

I do not remember much more about that night. But now that I remember, it was a party night for me. My spirit rejoiced that I would soon be there to support Chui. My spirit rejoiced that I was already in this country, I would have the opportunity to continue fighting to keep Chui healthy. My spirit rejoiced because on that night on the border of Tijuana, I had the strength to survive, and with that same strength, I have survived in this country till this day.

PNN RADIO

Sign-up for POOR email!