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La Sombra

Marcos and Marcus

I´m currently in Ixtepec, Oaxaca. I´m so into the name Ixtepec, Oaxaca. I enjoy repeating it over and over. It sounds so bad ass...kind of like myself!

So, not much is going on here. I´ve been wandering around the town and the train tracks looking for some action. Ixtepec is very different form last summer. This year it´s been a grind digging up stories. There are very few people meandering around the tracks which is generally where they represent.

With the lack of action, I´ve been spending time volunteering in La Casa del Migrante (Migrant Shelter) which is run by the famous human rights advocate, Father Alejandro Solalinde. He is very well known and respected throughout Mexico for his courageous stance against corruption and abuse against Central Americans. I interviewed el Padre last year, so I already knew him. For some reason he keeps calling me Mateo. I don´t have the heart to correct him.

In the shelter I´ve been making my presence felt by saying stupid things to make Hondu laugh. This may seem childish, which it is, but I do this with a purpose. It is my way of showing that I understand the Hondu pysche and how he thinks. You see, Hondu is very simple, thinks on a very elementary level...kind of like a child. He uses a certain vernacular which I am privy to and this helps create an atmosphere of trust. This way he sees that I understand him and he is willing to divulge information otherwise difficult to extract. Aside from being a court jester, I´ve been helping organize donations that arrive at the Shelter. We´ve been folding clothes, which I suck at, and helping the other volunteers complete tedious tasks. It is fun.

The highlight of the last few days was learning that another person who has been helping volunteer is, according to himself, the leader of MS-13 in the whole of Mexico. MS-13 is one of Central Americas most violent street gangs. While I can´t officially confirm nor deny his position as the mero-mero of the Mara Salvatrucha, I can attest to the tremendous respect Don Ramon commands around the Shelter, particularly amongst the dodgy looking characters. He claims to have ¨soldiers¨ working for him. Although Don Ramon knows nothing about world geography, he has this strange power, an aura that surrounds him and draws people into him. His MS 13 secret code name is La Sombra or The Shade.
Don Ramon and one of his street soldiers accompanied me back to my hotel tonight which is a 20 minute walk from the Shelter. His soldier, Marcus, is about as sketchy as they come. His gait exudes bad things. When we got to my hotel, I invited Don Ramon and Marcus for a Coca Cola.

On a side note, I ran into my good friends Luis-gangbanger and Franky- Sr. Sensitive. Once, again we were excited to see one another. We spent quality time together and discussed moving North. I feel like they are my students. I like them.

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