How are you and the family? How is the shop? I heard the upcoming election is heating up. Please be safe. When you see people getting too excited, close the shop and go home. You have a big padlock on it, right? Please don’t get caught up in all that tribal talks. We are all the same. Ironically, this is one of the things I like about America. Here we are all African. In fact we are all Black. Americans don’t care if you are Mandingo or Fula. Hell, they don’t even care whether you are Guinean or Sierra Leonean. We are all Africans, and that’s all that matters.
How is mom and dad? Still don’t like the big city, uh? The other day when I called, dad was teaching. I had mom just leave the phone by the students. Listening to them recite the souras was one of the happiest moments I have had in a while. God, I still love that sound! I didn’t know I missed it until I heard it again. I miss you all so much. Even the nephews and nieces I haven’t seen yet. That are now big boys and girls. Tell them to stop growing so fast, otherwise when I come I will make them knell down for me to knock them in their big heads.
Speaking of nephews and nieces, when are you going to give that wife of yours some rest? What is it now, six children? I hope this is the last. Otherwise I’m going to bring you here just so you can go see one of these doctors. One little snip and you are done! Yes brother, it’s true oh! Here men pay money to have doctors give them the dog treatment. They go in and no more little juniors after they come out.
Anyway, I’m good. Our big cold is gone, and for a short while we were great. But now, all we do is complain about the sun. Just like we did about the cold. But I refuse to turn on the air conditioner. You can’t go without heat in the winter, but certainly you can without trying to reinvent winter in the summer. All you need is to keep your shirt off and you are fine. Besides, the way the bills are rising these days, we are all mindful of where we can cut few dollars. Especially now that we have two new roommates. If you could call them that. They are friends that are staying with us because they had to leave their apartment for fear of being raided by immigration agents.
Their names are Peter and George. They are from Liberia. When they came here they were the real lucky ones that didn’t have to hide, didn’t have to sneak and beg, didn’t have to take any job because it was the only job they could get without a social security number. See, the government gave them temporary papers called Temporary Protective Status (TPS) because there was war in Liberia. It’s something they give refugees for whatever reason they cannot simply give residency to. The only way it makes sense to me is that America likes to hold stuff over people. It’s like you are free, but you are really not free; like you are out of jail but you are on probation. Like yeah you can be a citizen, but first you have to be a resident for so many years just so they can keep you in check or use any little human mistakes you make to kick you out and say it’s your fault (for having human flaws.)
Anyway, about the TPS, every so often the government would renew it. Well, not with this new president. He says no way, he says there is no more war in Liberia, why are we still keeping these people here? Never mind “these people” have been here almost all their lives. So they started rounding people up. Mind you these people have had to check in every year or every time they moved from one place to the other. So of course, now they know exactly where the people live. Now agents are showing up, in the middle of the night, early morning, during dinner, whenever they feel like it and you least expect it. And taking fathers away from their homes, and mothers from their children. They are stopping people in traffic and taking them to jail, then deporting them quicker than they can say, but wait, I only speak American, I wear red white and blue for pajama and sing the Star-Spangled Banner every morning before having cheerios for breakfast. What the fuck do you mean I don’t belong here?
So Peter and George are hiding on our couch. Because at least we have always been illegal and therefore always off the grid and off anyone’s radar. For now.
Besides that, life is good. I am thinking of taking some classes at the local technical college, so maybe one day I can be promoted to supervisor at work.
Please give my best to your wife and children. I will put a little package through Western Union tomorrow. You’ll probably get that before this letter. I will call you to explain the details.