(You may at this point be thinking "Stop helping migrants cross the border illegally. We have enough here already.")
Well, guess what? If it weren't so illegal, there wouldn't be a problem with that. As a U.S. citizen who can easily and legally cross the border, I harbor all sorts of guilt about the inequity in this.
So I told Josué that if he wanted, I would pay him to clean the entire street, weeds and trash and everything else. Two hours later, he returned for trash bags and a broom, and brought all four filled bags to store in my garbage bin. I asked him if I could take a photo of him, and when he walked into my studio, the conversation opened up.
First, he saw the huipil titled "Las Trazas" (see August blog http://lenabartulalahuipilista.blogspot.mx/2015/08/collaboration-immigration-and-traces-of.html) and began trying to read it.
|Josué Carlos Mascadreño|
Seeing him struggle a bit, I asked if he wanted to read it aloud, and with my help on a few words, he finished it. Why did he need help, you ask. He told me he has never been to school. Not one day. Let that sink in for a moment. I know. It took me some time too. How many adults do you know that have never been to school? Now at 23 years old, having taught himself to read and write, what Josué wants most is an education and a job.
Curious whether the poem he had read made sense, I asked him if it rang true for the migrant situation he knows so intimately. At first he answered simply "yes" then began to tell me some of his experiences and those of other migrants he knows.