Translated by Katrina Hassan
They arrive with their sad little eyes, anxious, and with all hope lost. They have an urgency to find work, after all, that is why they came here. To work. These are the man-boys and women-girls that never had a childhood and went straight to work as kids.
They were made to grow up in one go, just like their parents and grandparents. They look like kids and adolescents, yet something was taken from them. Something did not develop properly in what should be the natural way a child grows. In a healthy society, protected by the state, a state which should offer them opportunity and development for a wholesome life.
They arrive defeated, beat, their bodies like splinters. Their dreams like barbed wire, and the stigma like a fingerprint. They have the anger, the ire, the fear, the unrest and the never-ending sleepless nights. Dawn brings nightmares and hunger.
These are the men-boys and women-girls that are expelled from their country of origin. They come to the USA with hope of a life that will never be.
With their butterfly, swallow, ronrón wings, and their little cracked faces that wish that somebody’s eye would comfort and understand them. The men-boys and women-girls that are lost in limbo of those who came decades ago and became old in the fields, factories, cleaning each step in skyscrapers, taking care of other people’s kids, cleaning houses, mowing lawns. The million and one jobs of the working classes.
Work is a common denominator in this storm drain world. University is so far away and unattainable for these people that grow up with the world on their shoulders. The world takes a breather, comfortable thanks to the backs of the excluded ones. It looks as if the lives of these men-boys and women-girls is about to change when they come to the USA. Some do, but most don’t. The majority of these people come with the responsibility to send money to their kids. Most women-girls have kids because they are victims of rape. Society tries systematically to keep sexual abuse a secret. Most rapes are not from their peers but from “family friends’’ or from family members in their own home.
Many of these women-girls arrive carrying their babies in their arms. Newborns sometimes, that will probably be on their backs when they pick in the fields. The majority of these men-boys and women-girls will never step foot in an american school in their lifetime. Even if they are underage when they arrive. They need to work and their exploitative bosses knowingly hire them to pay them less. Systematic abuse has no borders.
Their little hands end up getting wrinkly and their vision blurs. Their hair will turn grey and their weathered backs break in the diaspora. Their butterfly, swallows and ronron wings exploited over and over again. These women-girls and men-boys will never ever have the life that was meant to be.
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Ilka Oliva Corado. @ilkaolivacorado