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"I was given the chance to try and find my daughter"
“She knows that her mother went to look for her, that I turned the world upside down to find out where she is and I hope to continue doing so until the day I die.”
“On the 9th of November 2003 my daughter, Clementina del Carmen Lagos Barrera, received a phone call.
I was curious that she answered a call from a business and that after the call she was lost in thought, worried even. She asked me “Mother can I have permission to run an errand?”
I asked her what the errand was about and who she had just spoken to. My daughter told me that it was nobody and then she got angry and ran out of the room.
When her daughters were starting to fall asleep I called for her to come and put them to bed, but my daughter didn’t answer. One of my other children approached me and said “Clemen’s not here, she’s gone out.”
I received a message from her via a truck driver, asking me to go and look for her in Guatemala, saying that she had been sold. When I got to Guatemala somebody told me that she’d already been taken out of the country and that a Mexican had taken her.
So we travelled to Mexico, in all of Mexico nobody recognised the photo of my daughter until we got to Tapachula. There somebody recognsied her photo in an exhibition in the park. A woman said that she knew my daughter, that she’d seen her around the neighbourhood, but she couldn’t tell me which house she was in, but that she had seen her somewhere in the neighbourhood which covered a large area.
As we went further a woman who rented rooms called me over and told me that she recognised my dauthter from the photograph. She was the second person to recognise my daughter.
She showed us the house where she had seen her. An elegant, tall, white man came out of it. He asked us what we wanted and saw us studying the photo. We explained that I was the mother of the young girl in the photo and we were looking for her because we had been told that she had been seen there, but we didn’t know if she worked or lived there in his house. The man responded very aggresively that he didn’t have anybody in his house.
I really hope that people from the organization follow the trail of my daughter and help me to one day find her, so that her daughters have the opportunity to share their life with their mother.
As a mother, the trip to Mexico has meant a lot to me, because I was able to share my experience with other mothers. This makes it a little easier, we support each other mutually, now I don’t feel so alone in this, there are many of us sharing the same pain. We are begining to understand what has happened.
It helped me a lot, going to the place where I know my daughter is. I had the chance to go and look for my daughter and not feel that it wasn’t possible to go. And there’s also a possibility that my daughter saw me and knows that her mother is looking for her, that she is the most important thing in our life, for her brother as well as her daughters and myself, and that she doesn’t feel alone.
Even though I couldn’t bring my daughter back this time, if it had crossed her mind that her family havn’t looked for her or that we don’t want to find her, now she will know that isn’t true.She will know that her mother went to look for her, that I turned the world upside down to find out where she is and I hope to continue doing so until the day I die.
I hope to find her before I die. I will wait for her with lots of love and affection. I know there is a God and he kept me safe during all the bad situations I went through when looking for my daughter. And I thank God and all the people who have helped me, because when I was looking for my daughter there were people who didn’t even know me who helped me out.”
Name: María Eugenia Barrera
Age: 42 years
Organization: Servicio Jesuita para Migrantes