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Journal 4 - La Cruz Blanca
January 17, 2006
The reality that the immigrants face here is really difficult to comprehend and it's hard to know how to respond to situations with which I can't really identify. I don't know what I'm supposed to do when the Cruz Blanca gives me a room to myself with four beds with a nice tile bathroom across the hall, while there are dozens of immigrants without papers sleeping in an abandoned building that sits right behind our building. I can see them come in and out and wash their faces from my second floor bathroom window. I'm not sure what to do or feel when the police come to every meal to make sure only the immigrants with papers are served, while the others look on from right outside the door to the comedor. I don't know how to respond when a guy from Liberia tells me that his parents were killed when he was young, has worked hard as a farmer as long as he could take it, and could only wish he had the privilege of time and finances to be a student. I've talked to people from India, Algeria, Morocco, Liberia, Nigeria, Uganda, and a few that I can't remember at the moment. Each comes with a story of struggle with poverty or violence of some sort. I've talked to two guys who have come in to Ceuta by swimming along with a guide that I hear they will pay around 1000 Euros. I don't know how they get that money, except perhaps through connections to friends in Europe. Others come in trucks or find their way across the fence/wall border.
We just got back from a super long walk with a friendly Algerian guy named Nadir who took us the whole way to the border with Morocco where we saw the wall and all. We first came to the gate along the southern side of the island. I touched the Mediterranean water for the first time. I wondered if Paul's ships ever touched that same water on the other side, or at least Linford and Janet. From there we went much farther to go up a hill/mountain to a lookout point where we could see all of the Ceuta peninsula. It was absolutely beautiful. I'll put pictures online.