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Thursday, December 7, 2023

We can all be beacons of hope

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Maria del Refugio Sandoval Olivas
Maria del Refugio Sandoval Olivas
Hgo del Parral, Chihuahua, México La pasión por escribir se manifestó desde su juventud, consolidando su primer encuentro formal, con su participación en el año 2002 en Historias de Migrantes, en el 2007, responde a    convocatoria emitida por la SEP y su historia de vida docente es seleccionada en la antología“Huellas en el tiempo”. En el 2009 publica el libro autobiográfico “Anhelos, sueños y esperanzas”, en el 2011 “Una Rosa sin Espinas”, 2013 es antologada en “Experiencias directivas exitosas”, 2015 y 2016 antologada en “Monografía de Competencias docentes”, convocadas por ENSECH; colaboradora en el Diseño de guías estatales para trabajar los Consejos Técnicos Escolares, autora de varias ponencias publicadas digitalmente,  como “Oralidad de la Lengua” en Argentina,  asistente y ponente en Congresos Educativos, dictaminadora del Congreso Nacional de Investigación Educativa, cuento “Dulce” publicado en 2018,  “Suspiros rotos” poemario publicado en 2019, cuentito “La navidad y yo” 2019; además,  es editorialista semanal en el periódico “El Sol de Parral”. Jubilada de SEP en el 2017 sigue aportando al sector educativo como: tallerista para padres de familia, docentes, alumnos y público en general. Conferencista en distintos niveles educativos en el estado de Chihuahua. Participante activa en los “Encuentros de escritores parralenses” Cuenta cuentos en preescolar y primaria. Practica el cachibol, en la Delegación de jubilados y pensionados DIV2 Socia activa de la Benémerita y Centenaria “Sociedad Mutualista Miguel Hidalgo”

Mexico is the thirteenth largest country in the world and the third in Latin America. It is located in the southern part of North America, bordering the United States to the north, Belize and Guatemala to the south, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea to the east, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Geographic borders, which, on the one hand, open gaps in opportunities to attract tourism due to the geographical beauty of its different ecosystems and natural environments, such as the beauty of its beaches, forests, jungles, deserts, mountains, wrapped in the peculiarity of its flora and fauna.

On the other hand, its proximity to Latin American countries that suffer from political and economic violence and, therefore, from social destabilization, have allowed it to be the gateway to the strongest migration that has been recorded in recent years, whose final destination of migrants, is to reach the country of dreams: the United States.

I had read some articles, followed the national and international statistics on the matter, I have even written about migration, focusing on one of our largest borders: Ciudad Juárez; however, it is very different to read, write, and even observe a migrant asking for help at traffic lights on the streets, when reality is presented in all its intensity.

Recently, I was invited to a trip to Oaxaca, convened and organized by the Integral Development of the Family (DIF), which brings together people over half a decade old, transported by truck, with different rest stops such as: Querétaro , Puebla until reaching Huatulco.

I was pleasantly surprised by the beauty and care of these nine virgin bays that preserve the clarity of their waters and the little or almost null hand of man in their immediate surroundings.

On the way back, we take the coastal highway, as it is in better condition and trying to avoid any closure of it, since they are frequently taken by indigenous people from the areas, so that their voice is heard and enter into stages of negotiation. We had hardly traveled three hours, when we were surprised by a blockade; hundreds of peasants invaded the road and there was no way to pass, the only thing that reassured us a bit, is that the truck driver made his way to a small food store. There were many vehicles parked there, in addition to having toilets for men and women.

The lady was in front of the fireplace preparing some delicious corn tortillas, the pans were empty in a moment and the line of people waiting for food continued to grow. There was nothing else, no soft drinks or drinks of any kind, just tortillas with salt.

She sent an extremely thin young man with very dark skin, who evidently did not have the physical features of a Mexican, to another community to buy cheese from a nearby ranchería; He gave him directions to get there and the man ran off, meanwhile, the owner’s daughter raised an order to deliver the quesadillas as soon as the special supplement arrived.

Suddenly, the heartbreaking cry of a little girl catches my attention and makes me approach; a young woman in her early twenties was holding two children between the ages of two and four. The smallest was clinging to his chest, trying unsuccessfully to get some food out of those natural containers that lay empty. When I asked him the cause of the girl’s crying, he told me such a heartbreaking story, that without a doubt I have read them and even watched them on television, but when you hear them live and observe them in real life, they are not found. the precise words that can express the magnitude of the externalized suffering.

She said that she came with her husband from Venezuela, having traveled for more than fifty days, that they had crossed the jungle, rivers, slept in porches and been cold and hungry. Her husband, the tall, skinny dark-haired man she had seen running after the quesillo, tried to support the people to earn a few coins. The young woman extended the acceptance letter to me in California, where they would receive humanitarian aid, there were only ten days left for their expiration date, and they still had a long way to go.

He told us that many of his fellow travelers had lost their lives, that others had boarded the train of death, and that others had simply disappeared from sight. Gloria, my traveling companion, like me, was deeply moved by the scene and narration. We gave him the quesadillas that we had hardly bought and got on the truck and asked the trip coordinator to give them a space in the aisles of the bus, “since it was fully occupied” to bring them closer to the border; She immediately denied it, saying that we would have to go through some immigration booths where they would request a document with a photo that would show our identity, in addition to the fact that she had all the travelers registered and it was illegal to do so. Faced with the sadness manifested in our eyes, he allowed us to ask for monetary or food support from the passengers. Some did it immediately, others turned their heads or looked for a justification, like when we decided to ignore a fact, as if it ceased to exist for that reason.

We gave the young woman the money and some things to eat, I talked at length about her expectations with this trip and why they had decided to leave their country. He commented that he had sold his little house to have some money, that his mother had been left suffering intensely because of that decision and that they, the only thing they were looking for, was for their children to grow up in a place with a better quality of life.

Gloria and I cried in a secluded corner, our eyes reflected despair for all the injustices in the world, because she, even with all the hardships that life presents her, speaks of a God who has been present in her existence and is still there. a gleam of hope in her eyes.

My tears were out of fear, out of cowardice, because sometimes I break down in situations where I should stay strong; for her, for her children, for me, for the world and the injustices; for those bad decisions that the rulers make and that drag their population to pain and despair.

After more than three hours of retention, there was some negotiation and we were allowed to pass. We started our way back, with that fixed look of gratitude, with those hands saying goodbye to us, and with our hearts bleeding for the little we do in the face of the adversities that migrants face.

I wanted to write and share this story in Revista Latina, because its genesis and coordination stem from knowing traditions, legends, as well as the causes and consequences that have motivated the migration of Latin Americans, as well as thanking the people, organizations and communities that become ports of illusion for those who need it most.



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