Al cielo. A un lugar de sueños.
It is easy to sit in our country and take things for granted, to form opinions about everything, to choose which network we agree with and when and where we will spend our next dollar, but perhaps every once in a while, we should consider a different perspective.
They say to "walk a mile in another man’s shoes” so today I chose to imagine. Usually when I write my blogs to be educational, they are thought out and researched. Not today. Today I put myself in the shoes of someone else and just began to write.
This is not meant to stir debate, only to add another perspective to an already confusing situation that we have all formed our opinions about. Once we settle our immigration issues and come up with a real plan that works, we will have to look back and admit that those were people we used for political purposes. Real people with real dreams, real problems and real resolve. It appears that whether or not they all should be allowed to come here may be a decision the next generation makes rather then this generation, but we need to remember that no matter what we do, we are still dealing with people.
There is at least one group of people that is not angry about the cost of food in America. They don’t care about the traffic in Los Angeles nor do they care about the rising costs of things like insurance or gasoline. This group cares nothing about Hunter’s laptop or a Stormy Daniels payoff. They have no interest in the ratings Fox News is enjoying and they don’t watch The View.
What they care about is keeping their children warm because the night air is still settling in the low 50’s but the daytime heat is beginning to already take a toll despite it never getting over 85 yet. Recent rains have caused the bugs to come out and the entire group is covered with sores from scratching partially due to bug bites and partially due to a lack of bathing for the last several weeks.
The food has all but run out which has a positive side; their packs are no longer as heavy as they were. Another night is falling. The decision to sleep all day in the brush was a wise one as now they can hopefully make more ground in the dark; moving should keep them warm against the night air. It might be easier to stay undetected as well.
It was a miracle that this many of them have made it this far as the group was much larger just days ago when the cartel chased them down and took their valuables and cash. Three from the group were dragged off and tossed into pickup trucks that looked like vehicles from Thunderdome.
One of the women has two children who appear to be fairly ill and they are slowing up the group. The children have been coughing for days and seem more lethargic today as they break camp for one of the the last times in Mexico. The group discusses the children and decides that the woman and the children should move toward their goal on their own and keep distance between themselves and the main group because the coughing may draw unwanted attention. It is a difficult decision. As the group splits, sad faces stare at each other in the pale light. Nobody has enough faith to think they will make it.
Gunshots in the distance and to the south jolt the group out of its momentary pause and the movement begins. Slowly they creep through the thorny brush trying to stay away from the open areas. A drone buzzes them overhead and they wait for it to zoom off before continuing. Mile after mile the group continues until almost dawn. They must make camp before the sun betrays their location.
Huddled just west of what they believe to be the highway called “40”, the group looks at the hand-drawn map they have relied on for days. There should be a place close by to shelter from the sun and searching eyes…
The outbuilding is located just to the east of a row of metal buildings just like the map showed. Two small algae covered ponds are on the property but it might be clean enough to get some drinking water. The outbuilding has two old mattresses and the floor is covered in food and candy wrappers, empty water bottles and cigarette butts. The building smells of dead animal and mold but it is a place to rest and so it is quickly turned into a makeshift motel room for the next twelve hours.
The sound of ATV’s racing by just as the sun went down prevented the group from leaving at dusk so they are glad to be back on their journey despite leaving so late. They have learned to duck and run, to hide and act like criminals and how to keep their children quiet. The soles of their feet are sore and their shoes have all but given out but the group progresses across the farmland and heads toward their goal. The river.
Tonight’s walk will not be as brutal as the previous nights as it is only 19 more kilometers but tonight they have to be more careful and create less of a footprint as they walk. This is the final leg and they cannot afford to be discovered now by the Federales, the cartel or other groups.
They have to make it to the U.S. before sunup. To be caught now, on either side, would be catastrophic. Soon they will be in their new Cielo, their new heaven. The night will end after gathering at the Granjeno Cemetery and then heading to the brush along Highway 396…
The red and white pickup slowly rolls up along the mesquite bush wall the group is hiding behind. It is the one they were to watch for. Exhausted and still scared, the group climbs into the bed of the truck and pulls the tarp over themselves, clutching the edges to hold it down as the truck speeds to the north and at some point leaves the pavement creating a cloud of dust in the bed that begins to choke the new passengers.
Shivering from the cold water of the Rio Grande, they finally sigh, almost in unison, but it goes unheard under the noise of the old truck.
It is the beginning of a new life. A better life. They have made it; not all of them, but enough of them for there to be silent rejoicing under the heavy damp tarp.