Javier knew it was too late for regrets,”Imagine you are in the desert,no matter where you turn your head everything looks the same. Imagine running and running and seeing the same; imagine that when you said goodbye to your wife you don’t know if you’ll live to see her again. That is what I was thinking as I tried to sleep in the desert,scratched by thorns after crawling a lot,” he said.
“I came walking,” said Javier. As he talks he looks at his legs and caresses them. His eyes turn bitter as he goes on. “I saw a woman loaded with cocaine,she almost died,she was too fat and she had sniffed too much. The Coyote didn’t care,he left her there but we couldn’t just leave her. We carried her. At night the coyotes (this time the animals) howl,you can hear them as if they were beside you. You come to the United States to suffer,that is what you are here to do,” he says.
“After two days of that we got to the road. A car was waiting for us,” and the silent and tired group of illegal got in the car and were happy until a patrol car stopped them.
“The car stopped and the driver ran to the hills. Then they took us and took pictures and sent us to Mexico. We knew what to do,we told the Mexican border police that our Coyote was Mr. Picapiedra (Flintstone). He sent us to him and we tried again the next morning. I didn’t want to walk through the desert again,but I wasn’t going to turn back. Besides,Picapiedra was mad,he went with a group of 10 people this time so he could make up the lost time,” he said.
This time Javier was successful,he arrived in Arizona and had chicken and pizza. Afterwards,people smugglers took pictures of him and gave him fake papers.
“They were gringos (American),and they had a big workshop,everything was ready to produce documents,Social Security numbers and everything. They gave me my stuff and sent me to California on a plane after they received $750 from my brother.”
After his brother died in a car accident,Javier moved to Washington where he works now,where his wife calls him on the phone and where,”I don’t like a single thing,but if I was home now I would have to travel here again,my family needs that money and I want them to have an education.” There is no more time to talk,Javier has to go now,he has to work.
“My father told me not to go,my mother cried at the door and I left anyway. I left the family farm and the truth is,I want to leave. I’ll go back next January. I’ve paid all the money that I spent coming here,I’ve helped my family back home and this year I’ll save some money and I’ll go back by plane. They don’t ask for documents when you are traveling back,” says the young man.
“In this country I learned to survive,to stand by myself and I got a chance to help my brothers and my dad. Though when my brother called me and asked me to help him come I told him that life here is very hard. I told him ‘don’t be stupid,stay home.' You see a lot of boys crossing the border and going back rich after a few months,but those are not honest people,those are drug dealers.’ But just like me,he didn’t listen,” he says,a little sadly.
“My brother thought that I didn’t want to send money. Now he understands,he does nothing but work and complain.”
The money that Oswaldo and his brother have gathered in the United States has helped their family escape poverty. They bought back a fish farm they had lost. Oswaldo is no longer a boy,he is a man,a tough man now.
“My father was a wetback once,that’s why he told me not to come,that I had everything even if I was poor. He was right,now I know. I imagine the pain he went through. He knew that if I died in the desert there would be no way to know or to recover my body for a proper burial. But what really makes me mad is the fact that these people (American people) are just playing dumb. If they really wanted they would have us out in no time. They know who we are and where we are,they know about our fake Social Security numbers and they give us underpaid jobs anyway. They are proud gringos,but they don’t want to do our job and won't let us do it legally. Look,I need to have at least two jobs just to pay my bills,and sometimes I need to have fun,to rest for a day every now and then,” he says,angrily.
But then he grows sad and continues with his story: “My sister also wanted to come,but no way,I told my uncles and my brother not to help her,she is not going to suffer as we have suffered. She is not crossing the border unless she gets a visa. I told her: “No sister,we will talk about that next year when I’m finally back home.”