Tuesday, February 23, 2010

True Reasons

Posted on February 19, 2010 by felipe

from Americus, GA

I would like to dedicate today’s blog to Nancy, a DREAMer, who dreams of giving her parents a home someday so they can live comfortably and at peace.

When I was a small child I learned a Brazilian song by Toquinho,

“Era ma casa muito engracada

Nao tinha teto

Nao tinha nada”

“Once a upon a time there was a very funny house

It didn’t have a roof

Nothing at all”

This children’s song depicts the picture of poverty and the desire of millions of people each day who dream of having a home. What many leave out of the immigration debate are many of the true causes of migration. Today, we visited the headquarters of Habitat for Humanity in Americus, GA. One of the most interesting parts of this small town is a place called Global Village. This place shows various models of homes that Habitat for Humanity has helped to build all around the world. The vision behind this place is to display to Americans the living conditions of so many people around the world and inspire them to invest in providing housing for others who are willing to work to rebuild their communities.

As I was walking through the very small alleys between the shanties, I couldn’t help but have constant flash backs to the time when I was five and had to go up a very tall mountain to visit an aunt –jumping over sewage to get to the structure that she called, “home”. It also reminded of when I was ten and I had to help my mother build the house we lived in, carrying as many bricks as I could on the wheelbarrow and trying my best to align them appropriately so the wall wouldn’t come out crooked.

I remember when my mother and I moved to the last house we lived in Brazil. It had two main rooms; the kitchen and the place where we slept. We had a “bathroom”, but we didn’t have any running water or a sewage system. I had to go each day, for many years, to a hole in the ground four hundred yards from my house to get water so we could use for drinking, cooking, cleaning, etc. It wasn’t easy. However, every block that I helped to lay on those walls have a story and sometimes even some of my blood mixed into the concrete. Even more important than anything else, I will remember how that house was my mother’s dream.

My mother, like so many others in this world went from the countryside to a big city seeking better opportunities. Her desire to better herself led her to work three jobs at a time for pennies, and in horrible conditions. Having to face abuse and poor living conditions, she never found a way to get an education and like so many others got stuck in cycle of perpetual poverty. She saw in us, her children, hope to break the curse of scarcity that had followed her through her whole life. So she gave us her best, even if it meant that she wouldn’t eat until her body couldn’t take it anymore. I am in this country as a result of her reaching her physical limits and needing to send me away to be taken care of by other family members when she simply couldn’t provide for me any longer. She dreamed again, with my departure, that an education in the United States could keep me forever out of poverty.

She dreamt of seeing my two sisters and I graduating from college. For her, a single mother without any formal education, living in a developing nation, this was always close to impossible. However, she never gave up on us and never gave up on me! When I first found out that I couldn’t go to college she was the first person that I called. In the midst of my despair, she simply said: you have made it through so much worse and I don’t have any doubt that you can get through this as well. It is heartbreaking for me that despite the greatest efforts in this country, I feel like I still can’t make my mother proud enough as I would like to because of the numerous obstacles to my education. I hope that some day people can understand that all I want is to be good son to her and give my mother what she was never able to attain that satisfaction that her son succeeded in completing his college education the way she always dreamt for me to. I don’t think that’s a crime, and I wish I wouldn’t be treated like a criminal for trying to fulfill that aspiration.
link to http://www.trail2010.org/blog/2010/feb/19/true-reasons/

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