The Hacienda: Guatemala

When I arrived to Guatemala, I thought that my nightmare was finished but it was not. Even though Guatemala is a beautiful country with humble people, there exists a few people who are determined to kill. A new shuddering episode of my life happened in this small country.

Like I told you before, as I entered the hacienda, I saw a lot of men. There were nearly thirty guys with handguns, rifles, and shotguns. This experience was new for me. I continued in fear, but at this time, I started to feel panic, and terror. I thought about if I would ever be able to leave this place alive. I thought about if my body would be thrown into a mass grave in a field beside a jungle.

Even though we had paid money to the traffickers in Ecuador, they demanded for more money, and I didn’t have the cash to pay for my liberty to the United States. I remembered how we were just merchandise for these traffickers. There was no protection or safety for migrants like us. On the telephones they had us use, I pleaded with my mom for the money I needed to leave this place. Even though my mom hated my boyfriend, she told the traffickers she would pay for both of us. They asked her when she could transfer the payment. She told them she had the money. But the truth was, she didn’t have enough cash for them to release my boyfriend and I.

The hacienda was a large ranch with fields of corn. There were animals in pens and cages raised for breeding, releasing strong foul odors. I went inside the hacienda with a group of fifty migrants. Many of them had traveled with us. Although I did not know them by name, I recognized their faces, and we had become acquaintances because this situation involved all of us. We depended on each other to survive. Some of the other migrants were distributed to different locations. I did not know what place they went. I was so anxious because I was entering in a frightened place. I saw fear inside the eyes of each migrant who was with me at the hacienda. The shotgun guys forced us into a small empty room. It was too cramped for fifty people. I used to think the first day had been the most difficult because we did not know the rules. We did not eat, and we did not know where to get water. We could not leave the room for any reason. I had to ask the armed guards for permission to use the bathroom.

I thought about how and where I could sleep. Then I thought again about if I was going to be able to leave this place alive and how they might murder us. When I was thinking about these questions, I felt someone behind me. The shotgun guy was pushing me. He wanted me to sit on the cold floor. I sat quickly with the fifty people in the darkness of the room.

The first day passed so slowly. Around six o’ clock, I felt thirsty, and I started to ask for water from one of the men who had guns. This man looked less scary that the other armed guards. He said he needed permission from his boss. Around eight o’clock, he brought water for everybody. I was tired and hungry from my journey that had started by getting on an inflatable boat on the Ecuadorian shoreline with over a hundred people and children. I slept in the early evening on the cold floor without any blankets or even sheets of old newspapers. We had absolutely nothing. It was my first cold night in Guatemala. The weather was better there than how it was on the cramped boat floating on the Pacific Ocean.

Despite the cool night, I had a good rest for the first time in ten days.  The second day arrived, and migrant by migrant woke up. I heard footsteps approaching the locked door of the room. I heard the bolt of the door click unlocked. Then the door opened, and three men stood at the threshold of the doorway. One of the men introduced himself with a bossy voice, demonstrating his authority. I listened to his rules. The rules were about where we could walk and not walk at the hacienda. There were rules on what time we would be feed and when we had to call our families. My mom was in Guayaquil. My boyfriend was with me all of this time, but I felt like he was another acquaintance because he did not say a word. He was silent and was like a stranger. At that point it did not matter. We had all become strangers. The boss continued with his rules accompanied with two men, one each side, all of them with shotguns.