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Javi’s Story. Meets El Mosco, “The Bug”

“Alli viene El Mosco!” “The Bug is coming close!”

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The Night Crossers on Texas-Mexico Border. Photo illustration by Tony Carnes/A Journey through NYC religions based on remote hidden camera photos by Texas Department of Public Safety.



Tuesday, November 26, 2012

After eight days in the bodega, the coyote tells us to get ready tonight because the way is clean -- no police are around. He tells us that we are going to pass through some mountains to avoid a checkpoint. This should take only two or three days of walking for four or five hours a day. Then, we will come up to a signal that indicates that we are near the highway.

The coyote gives me two jam and cheese sandwiches, one apple, and a gallon of water. I divide each sandwich into four pieces, because I do not know how long it will take to get to the highway.

At 7:00 pm a van arrives. I and 30 of the men get in. Again, I am really puzzled how 30 people can fit into that small van! They pack us inside of the van like boxes, one above other. Because I am small, they put me first, and then they put two men on my legs.

We travel for 50 minutes to get to an isolated mountain.

Trying to get down from the van, my legs have no energy. My blood is clogged. To get down I crawl and then fell onto the soil. A good man helps me to stand up, but still I cannot not feel my legs for five more minutes. There are only big, old, bushy trees around us.

After everybody gets down from the van, the coyote gives us instructions.

“Every group, find a place to hide. After that, sleep very well,” he says.

“While we are in the mountains, we are only going to walk in the night. Every night when it gets dark, and you hear this sound”— he puts something in his mouth and makes a sound like a bird— “I am calling everybody to meet. Follow the sound. I will wait until everybody is together. Never scream. Last thing: do not eat all of your food today. Save it because you will need it later. Does anybody have a question?”

After being divided into six groups, we run to hide from the police. By about 10:30 pm my group of five find a secure place with old trees. We make a small shelter with dry wood and cover it with dry leaves.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

It was about 12:00 midnight when we finish building. In our condition, it looks like beautiful and warm shelter. And so I fall asleep, tired but also cold. I discover the many small rocks and pieces of dry wood in the soil. There are also many things that look like big cockroaches coming out of the ground. We hear howls like those of wolves. I sleep in anxiety because of these bugs and the possibility of wolves. [Javi probably heard coyotes.]

After sleeping on the dry, hard soil of this mountain, I get up. I don’t feel very rested because I didn’t have a blanket to separate me from the soil. I am also very hungry.  I start weeping. I would just like to go back to El Salvador and be with my mom and sister.

At dusk, we hear the sound of a bird, the sound that the coyote had taught us. As we follow the sound, I am eating another piece of my sandwich. The whole group of 40 persons join up in an isolated place with big trees and tall grass that hides us from the police.

We make a line with the coyote ahead of us and start walking. Instead of walking on the flat, sandy road of the mountain, we walk through the trees with thorns and in the middle of the grass. The idea is to leave few step-prints behind us. I lose my jacket because we had to put our clothes down to walk over so that we don’t leave tracks.

There is no light to see where to step. I fear that I am going to step on a snake or something worse or fall into some hole. I hear the wolves howling. I drink some water, but I notice that the water level in the bottle is getting low.

When we stop walking, everybody is so tired. My group can’t find anything with which to build a shelter, so we just lay under some dry wood. I notice that there are many snake shells around me, so my fear settles into my sleep. But the fear is mixed with some good news. The coyote says that we are close to the red light. He tells me not to worry because we are almost near the highway.

I pray, God bless me for this day, and bless my mom and sister.



Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Around 9:00 pm, we start to walk very fast because there is a helicopter flying around us. This tells us that there are police in the mountains. This is a special helicopter that can detect people using sensors and has a big light that when it turned on looks like the sun. All the immigrants have a nickname for that helicopter: El Mosco, “The Bug.”

Alli viene El Mosco!” “The Bug is coming close,” we say.

We hide in a clump of tall grass. I just jump in so El Mosco will not see me, though there might be a snake nest inside!

We are staying here for a couple hours. Finally, we start to walk again before finding our next place to hide.

Now, I am in a small cave with many skin snakes and dry wood --at least it is warm. I am thirsty.

So, I remind myself, “El amor lo puede todo.” Love conquers all.

Shadow of US Border Patrol helicopter, Texas-Mexican border. Photo: A Journey through NYC religions

Shadow of "El Mosco", US Border Patrol helicopter, Texas-Mexican border. Photo: A Journey through NYC religions


Next: Will Javi die on the Mountain of Death?

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