I often think about Friday dinners with my family. Every Friday, no matter what, my wife and I took our two children out to eat; it was a ritual we looked forward to all week. We would sometimes try new restaurants, but my children’s favorite was the Olive Garden. My daughter loved to order Shirley Temples and my son always wanted whatever I was having, so I’d order two of the same meal for us.
Those memories feel a world away from where I’m living now, in Trelawny, on Jamaica’s north coast. I’m trying to get a start as a pig farmer, but it’s much harder than I expected. It costs about $200 a week to feed the pigs, and there’s a water shortage so I have to walk about a mile each way to get river water for them. My family in the United States sent me $1,500 to get the business started but now I fear I may lose it all.
Just a few years ago, I had a great life in the Tidewater area of Virginia. I had a wonderful wife who is a glass artist, and our two children were thriving. My trucking business was starting to take off. We were hauling goods from Norfolk’s port to distribution centers for Target and Wal-Mart. My wife and I bought our first house and had money in the bank.
I applied to become a U.S. citizen in 2005 and answered all the questions on the application honestly, even admitting to a stupid mistake I’d made years earlier. I passed the written and oral tests and completed the Citizenship and Immigration Services biometrics exam. I waited and waited, and when I called to ask whether there was a problem no one had answers.