miércoles, 18 de diciembre de 2019

Mi jornada hacia la vida, Día 1916, Visiting an ex-convict in his house after his liberation.

For the last weeks I have been living with an ex-convict who used to work for one the drug cartels here in Mexico, quite some years ago. He spent around 15 years in jail, and all that it implies, in terms of the type and kind of experiences that one is able to face at the interior of a place that can basically be described as the living hell.

I meet him at the interior of one of this facilities, when I was giving a drawing course inside the prison, I was invited by a friend who has been working at the interior of this facilities for more than 40 years, his name is Jorge Correa and his known also as the father of the "Prison Theater". Yes, he is an actor, and he has been sharing this "art" at the interior of this facilities as a way of therapy for the purpose of  social re-adaptation. And certainly one of the most inspiring examples that one could ever ask for, when one is looking up for a Master when it comes to finding just the right communication and interaction with this groups of people who, have grown completely immerse in environments of such violence, that one can hardly imagine until one literally places oneself in such places... as I took the decision of doing once that, this guy who used to be part of this Drug Cartel, invited me to his house, once that he was released of one of this facilities.

I didn´t really knew what to expect once that I place myself on that bus, knowing and fearing that, maybe he could kidnap me as a mean of revenge, or try to convince me to join to the Cartel, and you know, everything that you could imagine when you know that you are walking into the tiger cave, so to speak.  But, despite everything, nothing that I could ever imagine, was even close to the scenario that I suddenly found myself on, once that I walked into the land of origin, of this guy. As soon as I arrived, the first picture of the extreme conditions in which he grew up in, not only because of the Drug war that is taking place right now in the middle of a town where the people is assassinated everyday, where whoever tries to place a business, is charged with a 50% of your entire incomes by the Cartel, and if you refuse to pay, they kill you and your family, in the best scenario...

It didn´t seemed ethic to me to take pictures of the house of this man, so I am able to share some of the "pictures" that I can briefly recall from the place that, is the place in which, not only him, but also his partner and 12 year old boy are growing and living.

I still remember the irony of the first visit that I made to him, one year ago, in the moment that he told me that I was able to take a bath when I arrived at his home. Where he took me in front of this broken fridge filled with water that smelled like sewer, water that its also used to "clean the food", and I mean, obviously there is not "hot water" available, they only use a little bit of chlorine to take out the smell, but you know, the water its still a little bit dark and, a little bit hard to try to simply ignore, the toilet that they have has no water, and one has to fill a bucket near a pond that´s down a cliff that´s quite far from the house, and trust me, only having to walk up and down with a couple of buckets, it´s really quite an exhausting journey to do even twice in a day, specially walking down a road that, is literally filled of garbage, garbage that includes needles left randomly by the local drug addicts. The rats run freely in the same places that the food is prepared, and by nights the amount of bugs and places that run freely inside the place in which he lives, can quite easily take oneself to the point of saying: “Man, this is not life, why am I here? Why am I even tolerating this conditions that I have no reason to expose myself into...?

Its interesting, because, I was able to "complain", while for this people there is literally no choice, I mean, at least not in the short term. They have been working very very hard in the last year since my last visit. And they have now at least, being able to place a couple of walls to give a little bit more of privacy at the toilet, which previously only had a little curtain to, not feel entirely exposed while taking a shit, lol. So yes, they are moving, slowly but surely; hopefully,by the time that the son of this guy reaches the 20 years old, they will have completed the toilet and placed a floor for the interior of the house, as they don´t have any at the moment, which is part of what has made that the plagues have become so hard to expel from it.

Well, after the work that I have been doing at the interior of the prisons, eating and living with the prisoners for periods of 1 week to 1 month, I believed that I was at a point where I was already, quite “free” of the limitations of my own mind, as I regarded myself already able to let go of everything.

And, fascinatingly enough, once that I was in the middle of this place, with this guy who, despite of all the limitations in which he lives, he would still share with me the food available, a bed inside of his house and, you know, he would even protect me and direct me in the middle of that place, where there is literally a drug war exploding outside of his house. But despite all of it, there would still be a place in my mind where I would say: This is the consequence that he created for himself, so he is basically getting what he created, lol. But unfortunately that is not the chase, as this is exactly the same way of life of thousands of people around him, literally hundreds of thousands, some of them never committed a crime and despite it all, the very government said that it was impossible to do anything for them, as the zone was considered literally “Lost” at the hands of the Drug Cartels.

It´s something quite ironic I must say, when you see that the very families of the people who live in the middle of such violence, applaud and celebrate when one of the members of the family becomes part of the Cartel, because that means at least the opportunity to have a little bit more of some "luxuries", and the promise that, the family will be protected by the same Cartel as long as the family member keeps alive (which is very rare, specially when some of the members of the drug cartels start from the 12 years of age and have to fight against fully grown up and well train man on the military)

I suddenly found myself depressed in the middle of that “picture” so to speak. Because, I suddenly realized that I never had to go through all of that, and yet they were offering what they had at hand while I was complaining that it wasn’t “clean enough, healthy enough, safe enough”. And yes, it’s not the type and kind of conditions in which any human being should live in; nevertheless, I took the decision to focus on what was really going on around. And something fascinating that you are able to notice, is the “comradely” that takes place with and all the people, who actually, try to make the best of the worst...

I had and still need a lot to write and put down around this experience that I just came back from, but it definitely open a point within me: "I have no excuse to give up, I am no longer tolerating my own excuses and depression to get in the way, I really don’t have to reasons to be, sincerely speaking... I am in the middle of one of the greater process that any human being could ask for, and YES it’s quite a ride, one of the most amazing rides one can ever ask for. 

Now I know that, whenever I believe that “I am done with something" but I still find myself complaining and being ungrateful, I am barely beginning to see the real opportunities that I have, the privileges that I have... I am taking this chance, this opportunity from and all of this, to be aware of how close I have been, of never being able to do what I am already doing, which is to being able to live doing the work that I love, and those completely absurd moments in which I sometimes find myself saying that: "Its unfair that I am not earning enough, because I don´t have this or that". Or even better when I complain about how I see other people and I compare with them saying that I am less, inferior, not worthy enough, not good enough" When many, many, many, MANY PEOPLE, don´t even had any other choice, but what was available... is it really a surprise that the Drug Cartels have grown so powerful when one sees the true origin of their "success" to attain the necessary labor force. One that is willing to go ALL THE WAY, as they have nothing to loose, because they never knew anything different than this.

I am grateful for this opportunity that has shown me, just how lucky I have been of growing up in a family that, has literally being able to provide more than the basic: Water, food, roof, education, health... I am able to read and write, not only in my language, but I can do it also on English for God sake! Which is already more than what others have had the opportunity of doing! I mean, quite a ton of privileges, only to learn how arrogant I can be when I found myself complaining about what I would like to have, and that I even take me to the point of "Self Pity", by the very comparisons that I stupidly make with those people who "have those things and experiences that I want". I mean of course it’s not necessary for everyone to go into such extremes. But, this has been certainly quite a wake up call for me, and I am done with complaining, because even when you believed that things were tough enough lol, it can always get more and more extreme. 

Something is not working in my life as cool as I would like it to be? Then yes, I can change to the best I am able to, that’s the chance that I can give to myself. You are able to change something in your life that you don’t like? That’s already quite a privilege. You are very very very very VERY Rich, if you are able to change things within and around you. Be grateful for it.

Thanks for reading.