All for Freedom

Please elaborate on a central story to your life

It was Valentine’s Day six years ago. There were no roses, chocolate, or any romanticism in the air; there was instead, the scent of puke, fear, sea spray, yet a trace of freedom. It is mind-boggling what a human being is capable of enduring for liberty, even risking life itself. On the eve of my third attempt at attaining freedom, I contemplated in my eleven year-old mind, what I had been denied in my native land. I was leaving behind rationed monthly food portions, callous oppression, the utter lack of opportunity for growth, an economic system where hard work did not equal success, and alas, a Godless nation.

Our previous failed attempts had left my mom and me penniless, shunned by our community, but courageously anticipating another stab at our dream. Early in the morning of February 13th , we boarded a bus from my hometown of Marianao, La Habana for a six hour ride to the westernmost province of Pinal del Rio. A bag filled with two ham spread sandwiches, a can of mosquito repellent, and a change a clothes were all the worldly possessions between us. Nonetheless, our prayers sustained us throughout the arduous journey. In between my prayers of faith and supplications of hope, I realized that I was in a state of transition....

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