We arrived early at Casa Alitas that day to do an airport run. The house was full, with people sitting on the sofas watching Coco on the TV and others showering or packing their few possessions for their upcoming journey. When we got back from the airport a group were waiting for one of the coordinators to drive them to the bus station and one of the boys in that group was clutching a toy dinosaur. Bright orange, it was the battery-operated kind that opened its mouth and roared, although that function didn't work any more. The little boy holding the dinosaur kept asking me something. I thought he was hungry and offered him food. No. That wasn't what he wanted. Patiently he repeated his request to this silly woman who didn't understand what he was saying. Eventually a Spanish-speaking volunteer rescued us both. "He's asking if he can keep the dinosaur," she said. Could he keep the dinosaur? Of course he could. It was big and cumbersome and broken but he had fallen in love with that toy and he had nothing else. Of course he could keep the dinosaur.
After the group left I wondered where they were traveling to. I wondered if that dinosaur would be enough to occupy the little boy on a long boring bus journey. I wondered who would meet them at their final destination, where they would live, and what life in the US would mean for them. I didn't even know their names so I knew I would never have answers to these questions. Except now I do. After reading the article I know that Kenneth and his dad Wilmer were heading to Lincoln, Nebraska to live with Kenneth's aunt. Lincoln is a LOOOONG way from Tucson. I hope that dinosaur kept Kenneth entertained on what was probably a three day bus journey. Not knowing what happens to the people we help is difficult for me. Watching them head down the long hallway to a plane, or climb the steps onto a bus, and knowing that's the last I will ever see or hear of them is hard. I always cry. And I cried when I saw that photo of Kenneth at the bus station hugging that broken dinosaur toy as if it was the best toy in the world. I hope by now he has more toys to play with. I hope he likes his new home. I hope he has been received with kindness in Lincoln, Nebraska. I hope ... .
As always the Alitas program is in need of donations:
- Aid to migrant women and children - how to donate.
- Official GoFundMe for the Alitas program.
Disclaimer: The opinions in this blog are mine alone and do not represent an official Alitas account. Any mistakes are mine and mine alone.
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