Imagine escaping unending violence in your homeland and embarking on a voyage that takes you through unknown territories. Where you risk your life by sleeping in forests. Where you walk for miles with no food or water. Where at best you are robbed of your few possessions. Where you risk it all just to reach the promise land.
Imagine reaching that promise land and turning yourself over to border patrol because that is the best option you have experienced in those two months.
Imagine being processed and placed in the “Hielera” — the cooler. Where its nomenclature comes from the shivers caused by room temperature as much as from nerves. Imagine several days later being transferred to the “Perrera,” — the dog pound, where the conditions inside live up to its demeaning name. Where you are lumped in with fifty other families in a tiled room with a few cots and one toilet. And the toilet is positioned in a corner with a privacy wall but no door. Where you are held for several additional weeks, if not months.
Imagine you are an 8 year-old boy and your birthday falls while incarcerated. Where there is no celebration. Where instead of looking forward to turning 9, you feel sad, anxious, and scared.
Imagine my heartbreak finding out all of this information during an intake session in the middle of a busy Greyhound Bus Station.
Now imagine that little boy flashing the biggest smile you have ever seen when surprised with a birthday cake and he is surrounded by 15 other kiddos singing Happy Birthday.
Imagine how full my heart is knowing that there is one little boy that knows he mattered enough to be special on his birthday… even though a few days late.
IMAGINE IF WE ALL DID OUR PART AND SHOWED COMPASSION AND LOVE TO EVERYONE WE MET.