Monday, August 13, 2007

Across the border

There were so many of us who were crossing the border, every day. I was waiting for my turn, and I knew it would come soon. There was no food to eat in my land, no jobs. I hated the government for doing this to us. There was no fuel for buses. The government couldn't afford to give us legal papers. The stores shelves were empty. Price hikes everywhere, I had to leave soon. The government had failed us, and it was time to leave.

My mother was so old, it was breaking my heart to make her cross the border into South Africa from Zimbabwe, but I couldn't leave her. She was always strong in front of me, and I would cry each night. I was leaving my 2-year old daughter behind. But I had hopes, good hopes, for a better life across the border, where many of my people were going. Of course there were dangers afterwards, of being deported, but nothing is going to stop me from trying, especially when I paid this man everything I had to take us there. He, would save us.

And so that day came.

Maghi had told us the dangers of crossing-wading through crocodile infested Limpopo river, cutting through razor wire, and walking across the bush land for hours. But I knew it would be over soon, and even if they sent me back, I'll try again, and again.

Maghi had also warned us about two immediate concerns- border guards on patrol and Goma Goma bandits looking for easy targets. But he said soldiers have rarely been seen on patrol. I wasn't afraid of the Goma Gomas because they wouldn't rob me, I had nothing to give anyone. Most people cross it in 2 days, but sometimes it can take longer.

As we journeyed across, I met many women like me. Some of them were pregnant, some carrying babies, even newborn. I couldn't imagine pregnant women jumping over fences. Some of them talked about how this is their 3rd or 4th attempt. I derived a lot of energy from them, all of us, with the same fate. Which one of us would survive this ordeal? I knew deep down the challenges wont be over even if we did cross the border safely. I thought about how I was being "smuggled" across the border, almost left without a citizenship, no identity to my name, ... and whose fault was this? The government. How easy for them to make decisions, and we have to suffer.
The route was long and there was no looking back.


Hafsa said...

Kitabi tag!

Anonymous said...

I like your anecdotes. They're always about something different, not expected. Where do you get the ideas from?