Alexandra Maldonado

INHABIT – MIGRATE

Planning a two-month trip from Venezuela starts, you sit at your dining room with no food in the pantry, while being threatened with eviction. Departure begins with a backpack or suitcase that may lose its wheels as you drag it for 1722 kilometers. Living for one month in a residence for the next six months with thirty-five bedrooms and countless people sleeping inside each room. Finally, there is a space you can call home, not the same as the one in Venezuela; there are other neighbors, a daughter is missing, the structure is different. This home is a synonym of stability, a warm place that welcomes you after work. Here you can build something new, although, you never stop thinking about those left behind. The neighborhood welcomes you, the city too. Here we fight for dreams; here our four walls become hope, it is the beginning of a better life. In these place the promise of a reunion with your beloved ones persists. This is a shared essay with Erika Garcia, a migrant woman who tells me about the place where her and her family live, her new home. I ask her questions every day and we build a story about “The Theory of Grey Spaces”, places where living with dignity is not an option, where many migrant families going through human mobility live in eternal transition. This is where migration is criminalized, living in small spaces by the suburbs takes you away from the privileges of a city system. Communication does not reach these grey spaces, all that you hear does not go beyond mainstream media. Here, people are left out of urban planning, they are invisible, their rights are violated, living but not belonging begins. For three months I shared with Erika and her family through her camera. I know their home from an intimate perspective, in some way I belong to that place by feeling and empathizing with her. We met a year ago, at the Gran Sabana refuge in Quito, Ecuador.

© Alexandra Maldonado