Living the Dream…

by Uzoma Nduka

Location: Pueblo, Colorado, U.S.A.

Time: Tuesday, 02/27/07

Characters: Nicole Uribe, Irene Lerma, Lose-Juan Lerma.

Background: In a bid to living the American dream, young Nicole left her country Mexico for the United States of America. She left behind her two children. Not long after her arrival, disappointment began to set in gradually. She had so many things to accomplish but was not meeting up. However hard things seemed to appear, she had to pay her rent, board a bus and, or buy a car to work, take care of insurances (if she did) and above all do money transfer to Mexico. All these posed a Herculean task to Nicole. And in struggling to meet up with these loads of responsibilities on her shoulder, Nicole fell in trouble with the law.

Nicole: (soliloquizing) I think it’s time to fend for myself. I cannot continue dieing in silence. Look at the squalor I’m surrounded with. Look at what my friends are doing for their families. And I’m still here playing the good girl. I cannot, no, no more.

Nicole sought out help. She called her friends in the U.S. She wanted them to tell her how they managed to escape their various hardships-how they saw themselves in the dreamland. So many suggestions came Nicole’s way- some legal, others not. The battle of thought sets in. In Nicole’s mind, she was in between the pit and the valley. She was in the middle of thoughtlessness despite the ocean of ideas she had in her save.

For her to take the legal ways, she must meet certain defined limits and prerequisites. And she was deficient in them.

If Nicole decides to go the zigzag route, which she thinks she can maneuver in spite of the gargantuan route she has to ply and elephant-like procedures she has to bear and throttle through, she might end up losing all her investments.

But Nicole chooses the later. She got some people who helped her walk past forests and farms, streams and ponds, fences and walls until she crossed the Mexican-American border. And she finally settled in Pueblo.

In Pueblo, she began another tortuous peregrination. That of getting work permit and social security number which will let her settle into the system. It was tough. But she managed to get them anyway through the assistance of her friends. Unknowing to Nicole, both the work permit and social security number she had were adulterated. Even if she knew, there was little or nothing she could do. She could neither cough nor shiver. So she stayed statue-like and continued being the dummy.

One day Nicole ran into a young man whom she got to know through one of her friends. They met at a party. Nicole and this man exchanged addresses and phone numbers. One thing led to another and Nicole became pregnant. Another thing led to another and this young man got into the penitentiary.

Nine months later, Nicole had a baby at St. Mary Corwin Hospital in Pueblo, Colorado.

The stress and strain of “living the dream” captured Nicole. After living in America for five years, she had nothing to show for it. She could no longer afford to pay her bills. She doesn’t send money to her folks in Mexico any more. Her friends are always there waiting for her to cash her paycheck. She was constantly harassed by creditor’s calls. She was doing more jobs and getting less pay and sleep-if any at all. Nicole was at the break and mar of her life.

After five months of childbirth, Nicole decided to trade in her baby for a used Dodge Intrepid. Nicole sold her son for money and a down payment on a “tokunbo” Dodge Intrepid!

Nicole got the Dodge and lost her son.

Nicole bargained with Mr. and Mrs. Lerma.

Nicole: Hi.

Jose-Juan Lerma: How’re you doing?

Nicole: Good

Jose-Juan Lerma: What’s up? How may we help you today?

Nicole: I got a business deal. A business proposal. I hope you’ll be willing to do. Are you game?

Jose-Juan Lerma: And what’s that?

Nicole: I’ve got to get your trust before I let you in.

Jose-Juan Lerma: You’ve got it already. (Mrs. Lerma following the discussion discreetly and peeping outside to see if this is a set-up or real).

Nicole: You know what? I need some bucks. So I’ve got to get rid of this boy with me. Deal or no deal?

Mr. and Mrs. Lerma looked at each other simultaneously. Giving the fact that it’s their kind of business which required brisk decision they both responded in the affirmative. And price was haggled. Nicole’s asking price was $10,000. But the deal ended at $1,500 and $500 of which was used as a down payment on the car.

But luck ran against Nicole and Mr. and Mrs. Lerma. The cops got hint of this deal and quickly quashed and smashed it. The cops rounded off all the parties involved and charged them with child trafficking. Nicole is being held in Pueblo County Jail on $50,000 bail.

It is not always easy to live the dream- the American Dream per se. It takes perseverance and some dint of hard work. It takes time to get there i.e. your destination. Lots of people have traveled this route and a lot more are traveling this same route and many more wish to go through this route. This dream land oftentimes turns out to be hallucination indeed. Some are fulfilled others are not. But keep dreaming!

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