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Personal Essay 12 My summer in Mexico by Anjalie Graham I do not know how to answer the ubiquitous questions. “How was your summer?” “What did you do?” Well I lived in Mexico, but within a 15-minute walk from the Texas border. From a distance the two sides of the border just look like there is a “good” part of town and a “bad” part of town .. . until you get close to the border and border patrol cars cruise on barely visible dirt roads. And then there is the ominous barbed wire. And the canal. The river is now a trickle through the weeds next to the cement canal. The canal is deeper than the river ever was, so the currents are vastly more dan gerous. Illegal crossing is more dangerous than ever, but that does not mean people do not try and succeed. This is where I lived this summer, suspended in an eerie border dichotomy. I lived in a shelter in Juarez, Mexico. It housed women and children. They came for all sorts of reasons. Margarita said she had been deported on the way back from collecting her little girl’s ashes from the girl’s abusive father. A lot of what she told us ended up not being true, so we never knew what to believe, but I came to realize that it does not matter. Adelaide was 19; she had spent 2 months in El Paso, Texas in the detention center—a giant brick with a few slits of glass— before being deported. She was scared to death and had no money, but she wanted to go home, further south in Mexico, to see her sick father. Rosie arrived with a black and blue face and arm, her one-year- old little girl, and the baby girl she had given birth to while living at the shelter 3 months before. After a couple of days she moved to a place that could possibly help her finally file a case against her hus band. I saw her a couple of weeks later sitting in the sun on the bridge to El Paso, selling Chiclets. Her girls were not with her. I dis covered later that they were with Rosie’s brother. She is lucky. As long as she stays away from her husband, her brother will help her. Most of the women who stayed with us this summer had no one to help them. Emma or La Abuelita (“the little grandma”) had no one but her schizophrenic sister whom she had placed in a permanent institution. She said that she was more or less 100 years old, she was not exactly sure because her birth certificate had burned in “The Revolution.” She had nowhere to go and she did not want to go to an asilo from which she could never leave. Vera was a middle-aged woman with epilepsy, mental illnesses, and family members who wanted noth ing to do with her. She came to stay at the house on a regular basis, but the house regulations kept her from living there forever. When she was not with us, she usually slept in the nearby park where she was often harassed. Her father lived in town but he asked that we keep her until he could find an intemado (like a boarding school) for her, which was more than impossible. And her sister would have her over for holiday dinners, but would not let her stay with her. Patsy came from an island of Honduras. She is 21 and trying to establish a life that will help her keep her 3-year-old little girl and her unborn baby away from the cocaine and other lifestyle choices that had ruined her mother, sib lings, and aunts. She wanted to be able to feed her children and give them a good life. So she left her little girl and made her way through Mexico en route to Boston. I have no idea where she is now, but I did see her in El Paso WRITING SH 145 6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Sun - Th 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. Mon & Wed 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. Tu & Th Tutors: Megan Koppes, Richard Nino, Dawn Paul, Michael Staley, Amanda Taylor MATH SH 145 Calculus: 6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Sun - Th 3:00 - 5:00 p.m. Mon, Tu & Th Stats: 6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Sun - Th 3:00 - 5:00 p.m. Mon Tutors: Anisha Boetel, John Fowler, Sarah Hartenstein, Alicia Telena, Ying Zhu CHEMISTRY SH 145 6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Sun, Tu, Wed & Th 2:00 - 5:00 p.m. Mon 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. Wed Tutors: Anisha Boetel, John Fowler, Dawn Paul, Amanda Taylor ____________________________ shortly after she left our house. They say leaving El Paso is more difficult than getting into it from Mexico. I will never know if she made it to Boston or not. This was my summer. Filled with stories of the endurance of the human spirit. None of our women gave up even though they had more reasons to quit than any one else I have ever known. They always said “Bien, gracias a Dios” (“Well, thanks to God”) when asked how they were. And they meant it. They lived life with an awe-inspiring zest. So I say “good” when asked how my sum mer was, but what I really mean is “Amazing, gracias a Dios.” PHYSICS SH 145 6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Sun, Mon, Tu, & Wed 3:00 - 5:00 p.m. Mon, Tu & Th Tutors: Anisha Boetel, John Fowler, Alicia Telena, Ying Zhu ACCOUNTING SH 145 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. Tu 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. Th Tutor: Sarah Hartenstein ANATOMY & PHYSIOLOGY SH 234 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. Th Tutor: Marina Watt ECONOMICS SH 145 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. Wed Tutor: David Hoversland FRENCH SH 145 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. Sun Tutor: Todd McKay SPANISH SH 145 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. Mon 2:00-4:00 p.m. Wed Tutor: Naya Vanwoerkom r Academic Resource Center Tutoring Schedule: Fall 2004 Mass Schedule * Weekday Masses Time Location M o n . - Fri. 11:10 a.m. St. C h a rles C h a p e l M o n , Tues, T h u rs, Fri. 8:15 a.m. St.C h a rles C h a p e l M o n ., W ed., Fri. 12:10 p.m . B o rrom e o C h a p e l W ed, 10 p.m . St. C h a rles C h a p e l Weekend Masses #• Sun. 6 p.m . G u a d a lupe C h a p e l 10 p.m . St. C h a rles C h a p e l Sacrament of Penance W ed. 7:30 - 8 a.m. St. C h a rles C h a p e l Sun. 5 - 5:30 p.m . G u a d a lupe C h a p e l 9 - 9:30 p.m . St. C h a rles C h a p e l \ ______________________________ J 10°yroff any item during w/Carroll ID 422 N. Last Chance Gulch Helena, MT 59625 ,.s : ( — * WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 29 VOLUME 88, NO. I