Hope?

On the train-trip from O’Hare Airport into Chicago a young man steps into the train and sit down in front of us. His eyes are covered with shades, he speaks loudly in his phone, holding another, an iphone or perhaps it’s the ipod, in his other hand together with a bottle of apple Snapple drink. As we confused try to figure out where to get off, he overhears or feels, our confusion and turn around to help out. ”So, where are you guys from?”, he asked when our end-station was figured out. ”Sweden”, we reply and he turns a bit more towards us: ”Oh, that is so nice! I hope to be able to travel there one day…”. ”What do you work with?”, I describe that it’s about Art and culture. ”So, you are more driven by passion, than money?” he looks at me, lean back and smiles: ”That’s so amazing!”. And as the train moves to the city he starts talking, telling us his story.

On the fortyfive minute trip a story unfolds of a young boy climbing the fence between USA and Mexico with his family (”Do you know what that does to you, seeing your mother climbing that fence?”). They tried several times, got caught and sent back but finally, when he was the age of 12, managed to get into the States. They moved around a bit, he went to some schools but it didn’t work out. He didn’t know the language and was not treated well, he says. They were illegally in the country and for that reason had no rights, or didn’t dare to pursue their rights. He is still, at the age of around 25, illegally in the US. And the price for this is high, he told us.

”You have no rights. I can’t do anything, but I don’t want to end up where most Mexicans do: doing low-paid jobs at a factory or as cleaning staff with no hopes of ever getting a change. I am not doing that. I have a job, it’s ok, but the personal price I pay is too high, I think. I don’t like it. It’s haaard. I have to go to all these parties, and you drink and there are drugs you have to take…If you don’t, they think you are weak…The drugs I can handle, but the alcohol…mmm…”, he gives a crocked smile, ”It is hard, you know. I really want to get out of this shit, but you have to socialize. You just have to”, he takes a sip of what I now realize is not apple drink, but alcohol hidden in a Snapple bottle. ”Sometimes you just want to cry, but I can’t cry. Never show weakness. Just deal with it. You just don’t talk to anyone. I have never told this to anyone.” and he looks at me through his shades and asks ”What do you think? What should I do?”

On the plane over to Chicago I read a tribune to Barack Obama and the election promises that are now slowly coming true, the magazine proudly presented. Words of Hope. Change. American Dreams come true. The young man on the train had a dream, but no hope and few possibilities for change. The story follows me several days. What could he do to change his situation? He himself saw no ways other than the track he was following. A lot, of course, due to his illegal status.

The other morning we visited the House of Blues and listened to gospel so strongly sung that the rooftop nearly lifted. You could sense the enormous power generated among people in the room, the sense of hope, the strength to change a difficult situation. The power people got from gospel and spirituals played an important role in the change for African Americans in the USA, from slavery to civil rights.

One man without hope. A president urging people to believe in hope. A gospel choir singing their hearts out of hope. How is it related?

Nätverkstan is in Chicago, USA, to be part in the conference ”Creative Entrepreneurship and Education in Cultural Life”, arranged by Colombia College Chicago and Encatc. More to come about this. Read also this post of the Mexican–American border.

img_9227img_9213img_9216img_9218img_9221img_9223img_9226

Leave a Reply

Authors

Lotta Lekvall
Director of Nätverkstan, a Cultural Organisation in Sweden. Nätverkstan provides services …

Cultural and Social Entrepreneurship

On this blog we would like to explore entrepreneurship from a cultural and social point of view. Or rather put forward entrepreneurial initiatives within these two fields.

Search

Share

Archive

  1. april 2015,
  2. mars 2015,
  3. februari 2015,
  4. januari 2015,
  5. december 2014,
  6. november 2014,
  7. oktober 2014,
  8. september 2014,
  9. augusti 2014,
  10. juli 2014,
  11. juni 2014,
  12. maj 2014,
  13. april 2014,
  14. mars 2014,
  15. februari 2014,
  16. januari 2014,
  17. december 2013,
  18. november 2013,
  19. oktober 2013,
  20. september 2013,
  21. augusti 2013,
  22. juli 2013,
  23. juni 2013,
  24. maj 2013,
  25. april 2013,
  26. mars 2013,
  27. februari 2013,
  28. januari 2013,
  29. december 2012,
  30. november 2012,
  31. oktober 2012,
  32. september 2012,
  33. augusti 2012,
  34. juli 2012,
  35. juni 2012,
  36. maj 2012,
  37. april 2012,
  38. mars 2012,
  39. februari 2012,
  40. januari 2012,
  41. december 2011,
  42. november 2011,
  43. oktober 2011,
  44. september 2011,
  45. augusti 2011,
  46. juli 2011,
  47. juni 2011,
  48. maj 2011,
  49. april 2011,
  50. mars 2011,
  51. februari 2011,
  52. januari 2011,
  53. december 2010,
  54. november 2010,
  55. oktober 2010,
  56. september 2010,
  57. augusti 2010,
  58. juli 2010,
  59. juni 2010,
  60. maj 2010,
  61. april 2010,
  62. mars 2010,
  63. februari 2010,
  64. januari 2010,
  65. december 2009,
  66. november 2009,
  67. oktober 2009,
  68. september 2009,
  69. augusti 2009,
  70. juli 2009,
  71. juni 2009,
  72. maj 2009,
  73. april 2009,
  74. mars 2009,
  75. februari 2009,
  76. januari 2009,
  77. december 2008,
  78. november 2008,
  79. oktober 2008,
  80. september 2008,
  81. augusti 2008,
  82. juli 2008,
  83. juni 2008,
  84. maj 2008,
  85. april 2008,

Links

www.natverkstan.net

www.kulturverkstan.net

www.globalverkstan.net

www.nyabalylon.wordpress.com

www.ted.com

www.isk-gbg.org/99our68

www.encatc.org

www.eurozine.com

www.nurope.eu

www.kulturekonomi.se

www.firstdraft.it

http://levapasinkonst.wordpress.com