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El Red Cat

El Red Cat is a restaurant in Xela Guatemala. It was founded by Willy Barreno, as a place to work for immigrants returned from the united states.

In the afternoon of June 7, our dragons group visited his cafe, he talked to us about his cause and what he does, he showed us some murals and short films, we ate, then we left.

Willy thinks about things very differently than anyone I’ve met. He explained to us as we walked in the door that he would try not to go get angry at us because we reminded him of his awful experience in America. only half-joking. He talked to us about the discrimination he endured in America while he cleaned dishes and cooked food around the country. He called himself a zombie, no longer living, he told us he was a dishwasher, not a teacher.

In America, willy had a son with his ex-wife. At the time he was living in Wisconsin. He was suffering, he was suicidal. He told his wife. She told him that he should go back to Guatemala — that it would be really sad if his son grew up putting flowers on his fathers grave once a year. He returned to Guatemala. Leaving behind his suffering, his son, his wife.

When he got back to Guatemala he started a restaurant. All he knew how to do was cook and clean.

Willy speaks in an interesting way. He learned English in the kitchens. But he talked about things of such importance in such a casual way, that was so easy to understand and appreciate. Migration is a human right. He wants to make Guatemala sustainable. He talked about how Guatemalans sold everything to the united states and that their primary focus was agriculture to export there too. He said that the best went to the united states and that what the united states didn’t want they sold back to Guatemala.

We’ve done so much already over the course of this trip. We’ve seen a different world and learned a lot. But we haven’t fully had a chance to reflect and comprehend what we’ve experienced. Going to El Red Cat, and talking to  Willy Barreno are things that will profoundly affect us if they haven’t already.