Alejandro*: “I wish I could get it all out of my head”
I'm 23 years old. Because of extortion and violence, I had to leave Peru. They forced me to do things I didn't want to do. I had to travel through a lot of countries to get here: Ecuador, Colombia, and I crossed the jungle to get to Panama. That's something I would never go through again in my life. It's called the Darién Gap. It was seven days of torture. I went hungry, had falls, I saw dead people, people who didn't make it along the way. I [almost lost] my life on three occasions. The first time I fell from a mountain. I was rolling down for a few seconds. I thought I was going to die, but a person from Haiti saved my life. On another occasion I thought I was going to starve. I went days without eating anything at all. I was very weak, and the river almost carried me away. Thank God I once again came across some Haitians who rescued me.
I find it very difficult to sleep. I'm always thinking about so many things. I get distressed very easily. I would like to feel calm, feel good about myself, stop being fearful and worried; get everything I've been through out of my head, but I haven't been able to do it. I'm afraid of people who talk to me loudly. I'm scared of being alone, I'm scared of the dark. I'm scared to go out onto the street and do what I need to do and look after myself. As much as I want to erase them, those thoughts live with me. A lady at immigration treated me very badly. She yelled at me. It wasn't just me, she was treating us all badly, but I felt terrible. I almost started crying because it reminded me of a lot of things I've been through.
My priority now is to feel good about myself, to feel that I am worth something, to become independent and to be able make a living from music. It's my passion and I think it's what has helped me carry on. I'm just waiting for them to give me a resident card to stay in Mexico. I need papers to try to make a life and have a future. I miss my country—I'm not going to lie—my people, my food, the way of speaking, but if I go back, they'll kill me.