Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Couple of Coronas and a Book Recommendation

When I first moved to Reynosa, I lived alone in an apartment near the school.  One night I was taking out the trash with my ever faithful dog at my side when she gave the intruder alert. And by intruder alert I mean she barked at anything that moved within a block's radius of what she considered her territory.  Sitting on the corner curb were two disheveled men.  I eyed them suspiciously wondering if I should proceed past my gate.  One of the men noticed me and spoke up.  I was a little weaker in the Spanish back then so I replied something like "Esta bien".  In those two little words, I must have given myself away as a gringa (along with my shorts and tank top showing my Iowa white skin). Immediately the taller of the two responded back in fairly decent English.  He told me they didn't mean to scare me and they were just a little tired and hungry and wanted to rest.  I didn't have enough pesos so they could buy something to eat.  I told them to wait and I would bring them some food. I went upstairs and made them both ham sandwiches, a bag of chips, a couple apples, and a bunch of cookies.  I didn't have any soda or anything else to give them to drink except beer so I cut a lime in half and put 4 Coronas in the bag.  I went back outside and the men were waiting by the gate. When they opened the bag, you should have seen the surprised look on both men's faces. It was like they won the lottery.  The English speaking man said, "Wow, two Coronas for me and my friend!"

I suspected at the time that these two men were from somewhere far away and only in Reynosa to cross the river into Texas.  I never saw them again.

Americans have many notions about people who cross our borders without documentation.  One of those notions is they think it is so easy to travel from Mexico to the United States when actually it is a journey that is extremely dangerous. According to the U.S. Border Patrol, nearly 2000 people have died crossing the border between 2007-2011. This figure does not include the thousands more that have died within the borders of Mexico. The poorest of the poor are beaten for any money they may be carrying because their attackers know these immigrants have no recourse.  They're lucky if they are only beaten. For those who have refused to be drug mules, they could end up in mass graves just like the one found near Reynosa a couple years ago. If you are interested in hearing stories about the dangers of immigrants traveling across Mexico into the United States, I recommend a book written by Sonia Nazario called Enrique's Journey.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Dollar General

**UPDATE TO THE UPDATE**  I did get a response and denial of my request which consists mainly of BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, GET LOST YOURSELF:

Dear Ms. Gervais,Thank you for your e-mail. We appreciate the opportunity to review your request and we do hope if Suki has not yet returned that she will soon.  While we do understand the importance of your efforts, regretfully, we must decline Dollar General’s participation. We receive an overwhelming number of requests to place flyers in our stores and since space is limited and we are unable to accommodate every request, it is our policy to only allow Dollar General sponsored flyers and signs in our stores. We appreciate you taking the time to write.  You are a valued customer here at Dollar General.

Kind regards,

Marsha Murrow
Customer Relations Supervisor
Dollar General Corporation

**UPDATE**   Neighbor called in cat sighting and pointed Andrew in the general direction. Andrew was able to pull Suki from the drain by reaching in and grabbing her collar. She's home now and eating like a pig. From this day forward she will be know as SFB (sh!t for brains).  Still no response from Dollar General but I'll give them until tomorrow to see if they have something nice to say.

Dear Dollar General,

I have been a customer at the Marion store at 1135 East Post Road, Marion, Iowa for almost a year.  I moved here last January to care for my nephews, ages 14 and 8, after they became orphaned. Both parents died tragically in two separate car accidents. We're all still adjusting and trying to heal from our situation.  After the death of my sister, my nephews were given a cat which they named Suki.  She is strictly an indoor cat.  We don't know how it happened, but Suki went missing either late October 23 or early on the 24th. We have posted flyers on our community mailbox and the US Post Office has no problem with that.  I went to our nearby Dollar General store to ask the if we could post a flyer.  I've seen flyers there before for missing pets. The clerk said she would call the manager and the manager told her we could not post a flyer.  That seems heartless to me especially since it would not cost Dollar General a dime.  I did not get a chance to speak with the manager or I would have asked what policy does Dollar General have against posting a flyer for a missing pet? It's not as if we are making money like proceeds from a garage sale or advertising for anything. We just want our Suki back.  Many people from the neighborhood shop at this store. We thought it would be a good way to get the word out especially since many of the customers live in nearby apartments and walk to the store. Perhaps they may see our cat while they are walking.  I would also like to add the clerk at the store was very kind and asked for a flyer even though she was not allowed to display it. 

I am writing to you hoping that we will be allowed to put up our flyer. I am sure that under the circumstances I listed above, the manager can be persuaded to reverse his/her decision. I will post updates about Dollar General's response on my blog at http://imustbecrazytoliveinmexico.blogspot.com/ and my Facebook.

I appreciate your prompt attention. Thank you.

Rita Gervais