Audio Installation Stories
Central Children Seeking Asylum and
Imprisoned in Detention Centers
I was fortunate to be able to tap fellow Half Moon Bayer Belinda Arriaga, Ed.D, LCSW
for information and expertise on the children and families seeking asylum at the border. Belinda has made many trips to the border with Bay Area Border Relief to support imprisoned children therapeutically. She provided me with 5 heartbreaking stories of kids’ experience in the detention centers. Belinda also organized children to read those accounts in English and Spanish and these important and traumatic voices can be heard with the installation.
Little boy, age 4 from Honduras (the mom told me this story and I wrote it through the little ones voice, you can move it around as you wish)
My mom's hip went out as we walked the thirty eight days to get here. She could barely carry me any more, she dragged along, sacrificing her body to make sure
I would make it okay with her. I couldn't walk anymore, my feet were tired,
I was hungry, sleepy. There were others helping my mom holding her up with
me in her arms when she couldn't go no more. My mom told the others and
my sister to keep going with me, that she was giving up, she couldn't walk any-
more. The coyote kept going and she was being left behind. A group of men came back to help lift her up and literally dragged her. I walked on my own, four years old, too tired on this journey but too scared to live In Honduras. When we finally made it to the United States we were taken into ICE Custody. The first words the guards told us were "Welcome to our house, this is our house, not your house" We finally made it through the journey and found ourselves in "La Hielera".
Little girl age 10 Guatemala
I was scared when they called my name out. They put me in a line and all of
a sudden I was separated from my mom. I couldn't talk to her for days. I tried to catch a glimpse of her between the cages. She was in one perrera (the cage) and
I was in another. The only way I could try to see her was through the cage. I cried at night all alone, cold and by myself.
Young boy age 11 Honduras
When they separated me from my mom, dad and brother, I was so scared. I couldn't sleep at night because I was worried I was never going to see them again. The migra yelled at us, telling us that if we were loud we would never see our parents again.
I did't say a word, I just sat there- I kept waiting and praying they would call
my name to be reunited with my family. I was there for six days. I was sick and
no one helped me, the guards did not listen to me when I asked to see the doctor.
On the last day when they finally called my name I cried as I hugged my parents
and now I feel scared to be separated again.
Little girl, age 10
We came from Guatemala. They put me in La Hielera, its freezing cold there
and then I was placed in La Perrera by myself. Other kids were in there all of us wanted to cry but I tried to be tough so they wouldn't see how I really felt.
I had to so I wouldn't be yelled at by the guards. They would yell at us like perros (Dogs). The food we ate was frozen. I didn't get to shower and when I asked to see my mom they said no. The lights were on all day, I didn't know when it was day or night. If we tried to fall asleep they would wake us up every few hours to do roll call. I was exhausted, tired, afraid. I will never forget this time, I wish I would have known what the United States was like. But its not your fault.
Little boy age 10
I came with my dad from Central America. They didn't believe he was my father
so they separated me. He had my birth certificate with him and other important papers, but they insisted he was not my dad. They put me into a separate cage and then eventually they moved me completely away from my dad. They didn't let me say bye to him. Right when they separated us, I wouldn't see him again until
6 months later. I stayed behind in Texas while he went to Colorado. I thought
I would never see him again. I was sad, didn't want to eat, didn't talk to hardly anyone. I was so sad. I didn't know what was happening and I only got to call
one time a week for 10 min to say hi to my dad. Finally they figured out he was
my dad and I was able to be with him but so much happened since we were separated and it was really hard.