From a letter sent to FFI by MCM while he was detained at Adelanto ICE Processing Center. His current whereabouts are unknown.
How did it start?
It all started with running from genocide from my small country located in the African continent. A journey which took me a year, passing through hard times, passing through the forest of Colombia and Panama, with much hope that when I get to freedom (USA), the country I knew from birth [that] has fought for equality and human rights and privileges for all, and equally a home for those running away from persecution from their governments. Going through the hard times I had hopes because I knew freedom was right ahead of me.
What happens to my hopes?
A 1 year journey through hard times ended with me being in a detention center, which I have already lived 6 months. That is 1 year and 6 months of my life gone.
How do you picture life now?
I picture life like the fields of Africa, which during the rainy season have enough water that the soils are filled with moisture and the vegetations fatten up and are very fresh. But when the dry season comes the vegetations wither because of lack of water to maintain soil moisture.
The green vegetation which fattens up during the rainy season symbolizes the hopes I had while going through my tough times on the way to freedom and I knew everything was going to be fine.
The withered vegetation is my current situation. The hopes I had had are gradually dying down because what I expected or what I pictured is not what I am going through. 6 months of not seeing or talking to your family. 6 months of your freedom taken away from you.
It's difficult in here. Come to our aid.
I wasn't able to draw the fields of Africa in the dry and rainy seasons because of my lack of materials. Please come to my aid. Please draw for me.
This is the note that accompanied MBM's essay.
Thank you so much for the card of hope you sent to me. It means so much to me. It gave me hope and let me know that I am not alone. Life is not easy on the inside as you wrote but thank you for giving me this opportunity to express myself and making my voice heard on the outside. Being locked up in a detention center after the hard times I have gone through just makes me think a lot and at times I ask myself if running away from genocide in my country was a mistake, but with people like you and organizations like yours on my side I have hopes and know that all is not lost. I pray God continues to multiply you and bless you abundantly. I really pray he multiplies every dime you and your organization spends to put smiles on the faces of detainees like me. I equally pray he multiplies your number, may unite more people having a good and kind heart as yours, for many hands do light work. Accompanying this letter is a small story which maybe related to my journey and the hopes I had while going through the hard times to get here.
Cover sketch by Julio Diaz, who sent it to FFI while he was in detention at Jackon Parish. His current whereabouts are unknown.