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A Spanish lesson with Lucio

Lucio Perez came to the United States from Guatemala in the 1990s, undocumented. He's worked here peacefully ever since and never been in any trouble, but he came to the attention of ICE in 2009 when he and his wife stepped into a Dunkin Donuts, leaving their kids in the car. Charges against him were dropped but--well, you can guess how the story goes. He ended up scheduled for deportation in October 2017. Instead, he took sanctuary in an Amherst church and has been there ever since.

Photo of Lucio and his daughter Lucy, taken by Sarah Crosby for the Hampshire Gazette

The community has rallied around him and his family, but life has been very tough for them--emotionally, because the family only can visit three times a week, but also financially, since he obviously isn't able to work at his previous job.

As one way to earn some money, he's been offering group and private Spanish conversation lessons. Although it's not something I could afford to make a regular habit, I took one of the private ones--it's money toward a good cause and beneficial for me, too.

They gave me a number to call when I got there, so that I could be let in. The woman who let me in turned out to be an activist I know and like. She brought me to the room where he must sleep--there was a cot, a table with a jigsaw puzzle, a bottle of water. The lesson was in a different room, one with a quilt illustrating the ten commandments hanging on a wall, and a blackboard with the conjugation of "estar" on it, along with an explanation of the difference between "ser" and "estar."

Lucio came in and asked me how much Spanish I knew. Un poco. I made him some cookies. Galletas, he told me.

Eventually we got to talking about children. He has four children, and so do I, though the youngest of mine is a year older than the oldest of his. He's worried about his oldest, who, unlike the others, was not born in the United States, but came here at age three...

He has a strong faith; he taught me amar al prójimo como a nosotros mismos and the words of a hymn that starts out estoy confiando señor en ti When he sang me the hymn I was blinking back tears.

... what a world we live in. Just gotta keep doing what we can, in whatever way we can.</text>

This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/876524.html. Comments are welcome at either location.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 6th, 2018 01:58 am (UTC)
Hmm, Guatemala might explain the Mayan language I heard once.
Feb. 6th, 2018 12:50 pm (UTC)
Where did you hear it (how did you recognize it)?
Feb. 6th, 2018 12:52 pm (UTC)
I overheard a conversation. I'm not 100% sure that it was Mayan but the language has a lot of unique sounds.

Feb. 6th, 2018 01:57 pm (UTC)
I am so sad about the way both our countries are treating immigrants now. :(
Feb. 6th, 2018 01:58 pm (UTC)
Me too. And not just in our two countries, but all over. Humanity's not showing its best face right now.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )



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