Josephina Thal

Imagining the Neighborhood You Have Never Seen

Dear Josephina, remember the time when you and I used to sit outside when the sun would go down, looking upon the, seeing airplanes flying, and imagine how America would look when we made it there.

Do you remember the time when you and I used to sit outside and say that if one of us makes it to America, our life will change because we will become rich, have a lot of money, and have our own housemaid? Do you still remember the day when we said that if we go to America, American neighborhoods would look different from African neighborhoods, because they are built of glass, and no one will be working – they will just go to school.

Well, now I am living in America, the place I had always wished and dreamed to go to. I finally made it to America, and life here is very different from how you and I used to imagine it in the past, because we didn’t become rich, we don’t have our own housemaid, and we are not living in a glass neighborhood. Still, we have love in our family and we have each other. Together we have perseverance and are strong.

Before coming to America, I thought if I made it here we would be living in a beautiful and nice neighborhood like just the way you and I imagined it. To tell you the truth, it was all wrong imagination. I am here and I have ended up living in a neighborhood that I compare to a jungle. My neighborhood and the apartment I am living in now have gang people, alcoholics, and drugs, not to mention fighting. Fighting here in my apartment is going on everyday, and police come in 24/7 non stop.

We couldn’t wait for the day to come so we could move out of this neighborhood. Until then, our life would be in a dangerous situation. There were killings everyday in our neighborhood, including some by drunk drivers. I tell you, police did not stop coming to my neighborhood everyday. As a matter of fact, they got us security in our apartment. I hate my apartment so much, including my neighborhood; we can’t wait to move out. Police even warned the children from staying out until 5:00. We don’t get to play that much outside because we will get hurt from gangs and drunk drivers. In my apartment, if you stay out until 5:30 pm without getting hurt, you are considered as a lucky person.

One day, my little 6 year old sister stayed out until 6:30 pm. A drunk driver came driving at a high speed limit and hit my sister and broke her ankle in two parts. When that happened, we said that’s it; we cannot take it any more.

So we moved to a nice, beautiful house which ended up being by Pima Community College and nearby Tucson Mall. Our life started all over again, and thanks to god we have no problem in our new neighborhood except that it is boring, quiet and has no friends to play with.

If you ever make it to America, make sure you end up being lucky to live in my new neighborhood, so we can go to Tucson mall together and hang out there. Yes, my new neighborhood is the neighborhood that my family and I had been dreaming of. We always thank god for giving us a safe place.

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