Scene 6: Traffic

Facing Immigration from Illinois College, Immigration

ANIMA: In the US you leave cars unlocked and no one touches them—and everyone has a whole car to themselves. You can leave a house unlocked and nothing happens. But it’s not like that back home. There, if you left a car like that, it would be stolen. I’ve noticed that about the US . . . I know there’s a lot of crime in Chicago, for instance, but Jacksonville feels much safer than Kinshasa. Here, you respect the law. At intersections a driver will stop and wait until the other car goes. It’s amazing! Here it’s good to drive, but there it’s dangerous, because back home the drivers try to go as fast as possible to pass through. And if they pass, they go, “BeepBeepBeep!!!!” You have to really listen for all of the honking to know what the other drivers are doing. In Congo, you just go.

(ANIMA exits. Sound of traffic rises. SUBOMI enters playing with a ball, at first oblivious to the traffic but gradually becoming more anxious. Students enter from various directions as if they were cars, swirling around SUBOMI. We hear ANIMA call SUBOMI from offstage. Then she enters and speaks to her in her native language, pulling her child away to safety.)

This scene originally appeared in Congolese Immigrant Stories, a publication of The Facing Project that was organized by Illinois College in Jacksonville, Illinois.

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Scene 7: Marriage