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February 4, 2006
Just before dinner tonight, sixteen men were brought to Cruz Blanca's doorstep. Most all of them were from India and had all arrived to Ceuta that day on ships. They were tired, hungry, and shivering in wet clothes. One man had a serious head injury. At first, because it was late in the evening and we didn't have enough room for them, all of them were going to have to make their way to the intake center, CETI. None of them appeared to speak English. I translated a staff member's frantic instructions from Spanish into English to an English speaking Indian man who had already been staying at the house. He relayed the same words to the group. I studied the faces of the men as we waited to see where they would end up. They all looked exhausted, young, lost. Pleading eyes. In the end, thankfully, they were allowed in to stay the night. They were so relieved when they were let through the door and off the street. Many had to sleep two to a bed. But they received dry clothes and dinner. Another thing I noticed is how the group tried to help each other, how willing others were to try and translate, how other immigrants passing by stopped to see what was going on. Those who had been through the same thing these Indian men were going through now. All together different yet somehow with something in common.
The next day Derrick and I helped translate and hand out clothes and shoes to all the new men. I could tell they just needed someone to help them. They would come up to me and say "Madam" "Excuse Me" "Can you come". After some confusion everybody had shoes and a jacket and pants. Most of them then headed off to CETI for new papers and to start the next step on a journey to the next step.
I feel like I am glad to have been here to help with just this small immediate need. I am glad I was able to see these faces of desperation be given a little bit of relief.
A man from Liberia told me the other day that he is just tired of this place, Ceuta. He wants to get his papers and move on to Spain and start to be a human being again. Did I understand how he is tired of this place? How he just wants his own life