By Adesina Omolade Collins

Jodia eats his mangú, anger settling on his face like a General in a coup. He hates this city, this whole country where he is treated as ordure, less of a human. But going back to Haiti, his home country, is an option he will not consider. An ordure in Dominican is better than dead in Haiti. It is better than seeing first-hand the horrors his wife and children have to go through, every day.He picks up his wallet and goes out, to the Interior Ministry.Jodia stands languidly on the never-ending queue. His legs weary, he sweats his strength and mind away. Today is his sixth straight day at the Interior Ministry and only once did he get inside the gate. Even then, he was thrown straight out by two wicked policemen for no reason he will ever know.The queue outside the gate hardly moves and those inside the gate are not even assured of registration. Yet, all these immigrants have to register themselves lest they are forced back home.The deadline given by the Dominican government for immigrant registration is getting close. There are still more than 500,000 unregistered immigrants all over the country. More than 50,000 among them are -just like Jodia- in the capital city.Time is running short, things are happening. Several men, women and children wait, complaining, cussing and buying water and food to give them strength. Some of them have their children with them.Jodia is a man running from death. Deportation will mean no less for him. Just a torturous, pernicious death by the presence of evil and hunger. He cannot afford it; he has to get his papers today!When he and twelve other men are called aside by a good Samaritan to help them with their papers, he has hope. Hope comes like a vertical line of gossamer that appears while he is dropping into a bottomless pit. He grabs it, hoping that by an unbelievable good luck, the gossamer will be as strong as a bungee cord.Mr. Jean Claude the good Dominican tells them he works in the ministry. He can help them work their papers and bring it to them, in a matter of minutes. All they have to do is pay 850 pesos each. Money fly out almost immediately. Jodia begs the man to consider him with his 500 pesos.-It is all I have sir-Mr Jean Claude has mercy. He writes their info on a piece of paper and disappears through the gates, beyond the heavy security men.

   It has been given hours now. No papers, no panama-donning Jean Clause, no money.

Jodia has lost hope. There is no bungee rope or gossamer. He cannot buy food or water to strengthen him, he has no money left. His black skin glistens, he feels hot, yet he isn’t sweating. A combination of heat and sharp breeze. He stands in line, protecting his position on the queue.When a man is desperate, he becomes blind to reality.Workers of the interior ministry begin to leave the premises, foot by foot and car by car. Yet, people maintain their queue, inside and outside the ‘golden gate’. Jodia feels dizzy by now and his head aches like it is an anvil for hundred hammers.He and the other men have shared their concerns a couple of times. And each time a worker steps out; they all look at him/her at once. They peer into cars; there is no Mr. Jean Claude. The day is ending but the sun shines more brightly.Confusion arises in Jodia’s head when the security officials begin to order everyone away from the environment. They all are going home. Registration has closed for the day. Just one more day, and Jodia has no more money on him. He has been absent from work for longer than due. There is going to be no extension. These thoughts clouds his mind and even he doesn’t know that he has been walking, back home. He doesn’t know that he has crossed to the median from Ollies. He is just a body crossing from the median to the road that leads to De Haina. Absent-minded, he is hit by a speeding vehicle. A Dongfeng Cargo Van.Mr Jean Claude steps out to see the mess he has made. It’s a black man. These ubiquitous black pests though, he thinks. Blood forms what looks like the country’s map around the head of the man, broad at the top and narrow at the base. Jean Claude recognizes the face. It is one of the men he hornswoggled for quick cash.His heart beat faster when someone says, ‘this man is dead.’He gives thanks in his heart to God that it is not a white man. Then he goes back to his vehicle. ‘The authorities will come and carry his body,’ he thinks to himself as he goes home to his wife and children, guilt totally shaken off his conscience. The only thing that bothers him is the hunger that is biting into him.

Biography  Adesina Omolade Collins is a writer and a traveler. He is a B.A. holder in Philosophy, who believes words are everything there are.

Image source: Aljazeera

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  1. I read this and I’m Dumbfounded. At the wickedness of humans to one another. He robbed him of little had. And robbed him of lifeAnd hope… This holds many meaning. Wonderful piece Collins. Wonderful.

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