One Family’s Ordeal

One Family’s Ordeal

I left Guatemala with my husband and young daughter because we did not have enough money to buy food.  We had borrowed money because my husband became so ill that he needed an operation.  It was very expensive.  After the operation, my husband was too sick to work. By the time he had recovered, we were so deep in debt that we did not have enough left to buy food. We sold all of our belongings, our house, to gather enough money to come to the U.S. for a better life.

We left Guatemala by bus. In Mexico, we met a coyote who said he would take us to the border, but instead, he kidnapped and held us hostage for money.  The kidnapper had other men come over, and they called my family in Guatemala to demand money.  As they talked on the phone, the men tortured my husband.  He was bleeding and screaming as they beat him, breaking his fingers and punching his neck. They did this in front of me and my daughter. It was terrible.

We were held for two months in a tiny house.  Our room had no furniture, no blankets, nothing.  The room was very, very cold.  My daughter was always cold.  We got sick because of malnutrition.  My daughter now has spots on her face and I have stomach problems.  We had no food except sometimes bread.  We could not get out.

In the house, there was a woman who had been held for 15 days before we came.  A month later, this woman was taken away and the kidnapper said he was going to torture her because she did not find ways to pay the money.  We do not know what happened to her.

My mother sold everything to send the kidnappers money.  When the kidnapper released us, he said that if we gave his name or description, he would find my family in Guatemala and kill them.

We were very weak.  We crossed the river on tubes made from tires. We hid in the brush for hours, trying to walk through the trees with thorns and cactus until we could not continue.  We were all scratched, bleeding and crying. We did not hide anymore.

Border Patrol found us, and the officer was kind. He was asking, “What are you doing here so late at night?”  He took us to the office and we were separated.  We have no idea where my husband was taken. I am so sad because I know that he is at the detention center and I do not know about him or his health.

But it has been a blessing for my daughter and me to come to La Posada.  Everyone is very kind and attentive to us.  We feel very good to be here.  I feel safe and for the first time, we are eating properly and beginning to recover our strength.