Yes I have.Once of its own free will, once out of necessity.
In 1990, I threw my entire previous life overboard.I didn’t want to have anything to do with my “old self”, the guy had become foreign to me – and so had my country. I was no longer alone. This had been the biggest new beginning. I was 28 at the time, she had been my first wife. Together we would create everything. The whole world as an appetizer! We would move to a far open place, to a land of freedom and adventure, the land of the outlaws. We wanted to educate our children according to our own gusto, without unsolicited advice and social pressures or fixed meal and bedtime times. We both worked as employees, sometimes neither at all, once only her and mostly only me. We had also been self-employed for a few years, a few more years there was a big additional income from the business of my confidants. The fabric went away like warm rolls. My wife makes the best burritos in the world! That’s why my CV reads like the script of a telenovela.
Mexico City is far away from Ciudad Juarez.Back then, this was the right place for two young, ambitious people with a little too much courage and strength. A life without social constraints, monthly bills and tax returns awaited us. A life in your own house instead of rent, a place where the sun shines every day (once every other year there is a sunless day).
We lived there for 21 years, time enough to raise 3 daughters.If I wanted to write down what we have experienced and seen in these years, I would have to compete with the old Moliere – but we were only really miserable once or twice.
However, miserable enough to say goodbye to the troubled nest forever in 2011.It’s a difference when you watch “Sicario” for an evening in the cinema – or live on set for 4 years. Have I actually written about the drug war in Ciudad Juarez? It’s hard to describe it. In the morning was farewell. My wife drove my daughters to school while I was driving to work. No, this has nothing to do with helicopter parents, this is a security dispositif.
At 8:00 I was like on needles.I waited for her call that she was back healthy, that everything would be fine. For four years, the same every day. You never get used to it. The fear when the phone rings. The daughters were instructed. “656 234 5678!!?” the youngest shouted. She was allowed to take off if we knew the number. In fact, there were arbitrary calls for extortion, demanding so-called ‘protection money’.
The daily shootings.The girls could easily distinguish the sound of an AK47 from the rapid shots of several pistols fired in succession and would have known in the most extreme emergency how to get themselves to safety – even without us. The big one had been cold-blooded enough to squeeze behind a pillar when it started in the parking lot of the shopping center. If it had run away – it would not have come out well, the cartels did not want witnesses.
The incident with the niece, who had suddenly disappeared without a trace.Shrugging at the police. Hiring the private detective. Hours of scouring the phone book; the sister-in-law dissolved in tears. In the second week we found her, she was burned through with her boyfriend, at 14. And she didn’t want to go back. Only a few weeks later, when she was pregnant and the guy had become too hot. He was 21st to report to the police? Where the unsolved murder cases piled up in their thousands? It is also sometimes important to know when resigning is the best response.
The slow death of the city.Hundreds of thousands have moved away or disappeared, the houses have been left behind, then were first robbed and finally dismantled on the shell, everything valuable was ripped out. Businesses shut down as soon as the protection money extortionists visited. Long-time friends hiding somewhere, rumours that entire villages were being torched in the east of the city – and life just went on. They continued to show up on time for work, the ATMs continued to function, and schools remained open. But there was now occasional practice: “How do we behave in the event of a shooting?” The children, meanwhile, played “Narcos vs. Policia Federal” Every boy wanted to be “Sicario”.(Sicario= Order Killer)
We then happily got away from there in 2011.What a spectacle! The five on foot to the stop loaded with suitcases, even the crazy cat of my second daughter had to go with, so we went the tedious last walk over the bridge over to El Paso, Texas. We had made everything we had into money. The U.S. border guards were very cultish in those years, you could often see pickup trucks loaded to the limit in the queues at the border, El Paso had seen a surge in the population in those difficult years. But we wanted to go further away. Five plane tickets and hopefully enough cash for furniture, the rent, the first few weeks in Switzerland. New poverty. We had a very good life in Mexico, better than most here in Switzerland, in material terms. The descent from the upper middle class to the end of the economic pecking order had been very hard, especially for me. I had worked in Mexico in very interesting, diverse jobs, I ended up leading the entire internal training. But “my women” flourished here in Switzerland very quickly. Watching and helping them in their first steps in foreign culture and language – that outweighed my frustration at the loss a little more than.
New laughter, for example when the youngest came back from school a little unsettled:
“They looked at me badly, when I was so happy about the downpour earlier!”
In Juarez it usually rains at night – and not often.Occasionally a year goes by without seeing it rain. The daughters also made a new beginning! Two of the three successfully completed their apprenticeship – the third successfully married. At 21. The school swarm! No, no sicario, a streaker like her father.