On the first of March 2018, I fled Guatemala with mi hija, Mariee. I was twenty-years old when the domestic violence and poverty had become unbearable in my house. I understood that I needed to protect mi hija, and I knew a friend that would help me cross the border to America.
THE FIRST REMOVE
I woke up early in the morning to converge with my caravan. We traveled through the Rio Grande in a raft with a dozen others. The river was cold and the raft was crowded. Everybody had a solemn expression, holding their loved one’s tight. I held mi hija closer. The cross was difficult.
THE SECOND REMOVE
We were detained by la migra four days after our travel, and transported to the South Texas Family Residential Center. They arranged mi hija and I in a room with five other mothers and their children. The mothers were exhausted and the children were indisposed. One boy was lethargic with a constant cough, and he was denied medical treatment by la migra.
THE THIRD REMOVE
On the eleventh of March, mi hija was diagnosed with bronchitis. I begged la migra to administer her medicine, and they gave me Tylenol and honey. The next morning, mi hija had a fever. Her condition continued to deteriorate in the following four days. I became hysterical; I did not want to lose mi hija.
THE FOURTH REMOVE
La migra transferred us to New Jersey on the twenty-fifth of March. Mi hija was committed to the emergency room, where she received medical attention from los gringos; but, it was too late.
THE FIFTH REMOVE
Mi hija departed to heaven on May 10, 2018. She was nineteen months old, five months from her second birthday. She died from bronchiectasis, pneumonitis and a collapsed lung. Eight weeks after her first symptoms, she endured her miserable condition – unable to breath – without medical assistance. Three days before Mother’s Day, I departed from the hospital with a handprint of mi hija and sorrow in my heart. I questioned the inhumanness of los gringos, and an anger broke my heart. I traveled to America to protect mi hija from the violence in Guatemala; but los gringos murdered mi hija.
For my Creative Writing Project, I used the Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson to explore the image of the mother that has lost their child. The image of the mother emerges in numerous accounts – Beloved by Toni Morrison. I wanted to examine the image of the mother in other race, class and time periods. I decided to investigate a contemporary image of the mother, and concluded to the migrant mothers of detained children. However, I did not want to manufacture a mother, therefore, I constructed a captivity narrative based on the true story of Yazmin Juarez, a migrant mother escaping from the domestic violence in her Guatemalan home with her one year old daughter, who dies from the neglect of the ICE. The form and diction is inspired by Mary Rowlandson’s captivity narrative, using the “removes” and dates. Moreover, I incorporate the Spanish words, mi hija, la migra, and los gringos to illustrate her and her daughter and the others. After the third remove, the mother refers to la migra as los gringos after her daughter’s conditions deteriorate as a criticism to demonstrate that, her daughter died not because of the immigration officers; but because of the American people who watched complacently. Through creating my contemporary rendition of the Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson, I have demonstrated the power of the image of the mother and critiqued the present political environment of America.