Journey of the Sparrows
Isaw Father Jonathan stiffen as he heard the term, and he wiped his forehead with his hand. "El Salvador?"
I nodded again. Stammering, I told him our story, but I didn't tell him where we lived and he didn't ask me.
Finally, he rubbed his hands down his legs as if in pain, took off his glasses again, and looked intently into my eyes. "Not everyone here agrees with Immigration. Or backs the Guardias. Some of us are trying to change things. To make it legal for people like you."
"You are?" I said, my mouth wide open. "Not everyone backs Immigration?"
"No, many people don't agree. We're trying to figure out what to do to change things."
Tears came to my eyes. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Father Jonathan bent forward in his chair and started twirling the pencil again. "We help as many people as we can here, with food and sometimes medicine. But we keep running out of money." He paused. Tears were running down my cheeks. "But for now," he said, pressing his hands against the desk, "I'll give you some food for today, and if you come every day for a few hours, we'll pay you to clean." He smiled sadly. "And give you some food when we've got it. I'm only here part time, though, and sometimes I'm gone." He paused again. "There're so many people." He looked around the room, twisted his long fingers together, and cracked his knuckles. "I keep thinking, there just must be some better way to help people like you."
From Chapter 8 in Journey of the Sparrows (1991)
Used with permission of the author.