This young Dominican spells out the difficulties facing a family of immigrants divided between two countries . Tocris wants to acquire the knowledge that will enable him to set up a tourism business in his own country.
My mother came alone to Catalonia in 2002 and two and a half years later she came back to the Dominican republic to collect me and my 4 brothers. I was 16 years old at the beginning, and couldn’t get used to the change of country. I arrived in the middle of the term, so spent six months doing anything…’, Tocris tells his story in an impromptu dinner in the refuge Amitges, in the National Park of Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici. Tocris Manuel Pérez Molina has been taking part of various days of the trek, walking with the group in the mountains. Aged 18, he showed he could tackle anything: six, eight, 10 hours a day on foot, despite more rain than was expected, and surmounting strenuous slopes. Around 10 in the evening he would say goodnight to all the chatter and go up to up to the dorm which he would share with a large group of mountaineers. The subsequent festival of snoring did not prevent this young man from a peaceful sleep.
At 7am he was up and ready to face the next stage from the refuge Amitges to La Guingueta d’ Àneu. This stage gives the opportunity for long chats and sharing confidences. He shared that his family is divided between the Dominican Republic, where his 66 year old father and a sister of 22 live, and the neighbourhood of la Salut of Badalona, where he lives with his mother aged 40, and his four brothers. ‘My mom had to come to Catalonia because we didn’t have enough money to keep the entire family together. She came before the crisis, during the day doing a cleaning job, and at night taking care of an elderly lady. She earned a good wage. Each month she sent us money so we were able to build a new House. Once a year she came to see us. But the lady died a few months ago and so far she’s not found another job, nor a cleaning job in Barcelona. I don’t like the situation, she is very tired, every day she leaves home at 6am and doesn’t return till 9pm in the evening ‘, Tocris explains while jumping down hill.
Now at the lake Sant Maurici, with a view of the two peaks of Els Encantats, Tocris explains the pitfalls the immigrant families encounter, how they feel that they just don’t fit into their new country. He is concerned because his younger siblings, a boy age 15 and a girl aged 16, ‘have got involved with street kids who don’t care about school, they’ve been suspended from many subjects and my mother is so hassled by finding a job that she can’t supervise them, now she regrets having brought them here’. Although Tocris is the middle son, he feels responsible for the family -so many problems distress him.
‘On the mountain I disconnect, I feel free, I forget my problems. There is no noise, there are no people screaming on the street…’, Tocris confesses in a break. At his side is Canadian Richard Wagers from Alberta aged 62 who has joined the group, he doesn’t speak a word of Spanish. Last year Wagers made the journey in the opposite direction. He began the Transpirenaica in the end of Higuer, in the Cantabrico, and finished in Estaon, in Pallars Sobirà. From the Cap de Creus to Estaon he can now say he has completed the whole route. This retired teacher tells Tocris, loading his heavy backpack: ‘The key is to go light. I only wear trousers, at night I wash them. I take two shirts, two jackets, a sleeping bag and a tent, that’s enough’ he says encouragingly. Tocris, whose only mountaineering experience is to have climbed the Pedraforca, has completed two weeks of the Pyrenean trek. By a stroke of luck he was able to take part before starting work as a waiter, a job that will be compatible with a course staring in October with the PQPI, aimed at young people aged over 16 who have not got the qualification ESO, The course will be at the Jesuitas del Clot,thanks to the support of theCentrede Sant Jaume.
Tocris (Christo re-spelled)) came to the Centre Sant Jaume , the Fundació Carles Blanch last year, which is run by social services of Badalona. There he began to get himself together, first following a course in electricity and masonry and then another nine months of building maintenance. Because of the Centre his personal and work related development grew. He says that he wants to pass the PQP1 to gain access to vocational training. His dream is to acquire the knowledge necessary to return to his country and set up a business. He plans he explains are: ‘ In some land already known to me, near of the Lake Enriquillo, there are alligators, turtles, iguanas, flamingos, I want to build about 15 or 20 bungalows for tourists. There is a spring so I’ll have enough water. I calculate that I must work to save 50,000 Euro’.
On arrival to Espot we see we have phone coverage so he interrupts the conversation to call his mother to find out how things are at home. Later, energised, he sets off for the villages of Estaís andJou arriving in the middle of the afternoon. Tonight he won’t sleep in a Refugio, but a comfortable room in the Hostal Cases. At dinner he is joined by Luciano and Mamadou, newly arrived from Barcelona. ‘Mamadou, we are now two blacks’, laughs Tocris by way of welcoming his Senegalese colleague.