The tale of an illegal immigrant

“I was just 15 when me mommy tell me she sending me for a better life. We punishing so she wan better for me. Better? All now I wish I could be with me mother but me know how she and me sister and brother dem punishing so me don’t want go back, but me punishing hay suh too,” said Carol.

“She send me by meh uncle in another island and you know is no help I get. Is like he been want another wife and a slave. Soon as me come, he look to me fuh sex and when me say no he tell me how he me bring me hay. He touching me up and so, it was not nice.” Her facial expression revealed how bad the situation was.

Carol is now 19 and has been on the island for over three years, but instead of her life improving it has gotten worse. She is also now the mother of an eight-month-old baby boy. She is an illegal resident and also uneducated and as such it is difficult for her to find a permanent job even though she would get temporary employment from time to time.

“I does wuk but now it hard because I get baby and so me don’t get nobody to look at he sometimes. And when I wuk and get lil bit money I does send some for me mommy because things hard with she back in Haiti,” she said.

“When me come here and me uncle try to get sex with me I tell he wife but she not believe me she tell me how I lie. I can’t take it no more so I run away from the house and been living with friend and then a next friend and sometime me didn’t get nowhere to live.

“Me meet me baby father and he promise to help me and give me a better life. We had sex and then me get pregnant, baby father say is not he own and he stop coming and see me and baby coming and me not know what to do.

“Is just one day, a friend see me pregnant on the road and she stop and talk to me and I tell she me story and she like help to buy baby clothes and so because me don’t have none. Then I went back to me uncle house and he wife and children say come live back but only because of baby.”

Carol’s friend along with another woman, both of whom are very religious, have been assisting her, but while they would help her with material things and sometimes monetary contributions they are unable to provide housing for her.

“[My friend] been trying to get document for me and is then I know the passport I come with is a illegal one, so right now I don’t even have passport. Me uncle bring me up on a wrong passport so now I have to get passport before I get paper and that will take long, long so I don’t know what to do.” She said.

“You know when I come up and me uncle trying to sex me he tell me one day that I not he child and I want know what is that so I ask me mother. Me mother is he small sister; I ask she if I is he child and she not answer, she just silent on phone.

“Now me think like he use to sex me mother and maybe I is he child, but she don’t tell me.”

As Carol spoke there was not much I could have said; she told her story in a matter-of-fact manner with little or no emotion. She only stopped the narrative when her baby demanded her attention.

“Now me don’t know father and baby don’t know father. When baby born me cousins [her uncle’s children] tell me is only because he born that I can live there. But is not easy, sometime no food to eat. They put stuff in cupboard and lock it up so me does be hungry but baby and me get somewhere to sleep,” she said.

“Now I does spend weekend at my friend, she does take me to church and they study the bible with me. But I not part of they religion but I understand some of what they say but I not ready for that. I like going to church and everybody does treat me and the baby nice,” Carol said, this time with a small smile.

“I don’t know if I would go back Haiti. Me mommy really can’t help me and they don’t have no job here. If I get me papers here and so I think I can try and work and make it. Maybe one day I can send for mommy, but I miss mommy and me brothers and sisters.

“Sometimes I does wonder if I would ever see them, is like so long and me can’t even buy plane ticket. Me don’t even have no passport but still me baby does drink milk and he have clothes. If was Haiti he don’t get that, life hard there you know.

“In Haiti you know people does eat cat? I eat cat meat a ready.”  She saw the shock on my face and for the first time during the discourse, she laughed heartily.

“Cat meat taste nice. Me mother had nothing to cook and she kill the cat and cook it and give we to eat and it taste nice, better than eating nothing. I don’t know if me eat cat meat now but I eat it before and it taste nice, me mother cook it nice,” Carol said as if she was attempting to convince me.

“So see me can’t go back Haiti, life too hard dey. But me don’t know yet what will happen to me and baby but me praying.”

We spoke after that and I saw Carol several times before I departed the island I was visiting at the time and on every occasion she expressed the desire to have a better life.

But Carol’s plight worsened last week due to Hurricane Irma which devastated the island. Up to the point of writing I had received no news of Carol or her son and it was feared that the house she called home was destroyed as it was on a hill and did not have a sturdy foundation.

My prayers are with Carol and all those affected by the hurricane.

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