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Script 59.12

Notes to broadcasters

Often rural people who migrate to the city are not aware of the problems they will face.  Newcomers may encounter poor living conditions, unemployment, and a lack of social support as they move far from their families.

Script

Characters

Program host

Juan:
A youth of 18
Uncle Silvio:
Juan’s Uncle

Program host
: Juan and his wife Claudia have decided to leave their village and move to the city to start a better life. Our story begins when Juan writes a letter to his Uncle Silvio who lives in the city.

Voice of Juan:

Dear Uncle Silvio,

I am writing to you because my wife Claudia and I wish to leave our village and move to the city. We made this decision after our friend Felipa and her sister Norma visited. Felipa is a medical doctor and her sister Norma has a good job as a secretary. They drove here in their own car. They both live in nice houses in the city. After listening to their story, Claudia and I decided that moving to the city is the only way to get a better life. Life in the village cannot offer much. I want a car and a nice house! I am still young — not yet 20 — and I can work hard. Uncle Silvio, please tell me how we can move to the city. Is it easy to find a job and a place to live? Please write soon. I send best wishes from all of us.

Juan

Voice of Silvio:

Dear Juan,

When I received your letter, I was surprised to hear that you want to come to the city. Life here is not easy. Jobs are hard to find. I advise you to stay in the village. I have lived here for fifteen years and still do not have a permanent job. When new people arrive here they sleep in a city park until they can find a better place. Some people never leave the park!

Juan, there is no spare land here. Every piece of land in the city seems to be owned by someone. We seldom eat fresh vegetables and we have to buy most of our food. To be honest, I have not had a happy day since leaving the village, but my pride prevents me from returning. Please write again.

Uncle Silvio

Voice of Juan:

Dear Uncle Silvio,

I received your letter today. I am upset that you advised me not to come to the city. After all, you have lived there for years. If it is so bad, why don’t you return to the village?

Claudia and I are more determined than ever to come to the city. We are both young and healthy and know what it is to work hard. We think our son will have a better life in the city. Uncle Silvio, I am not asking you for money. But can you find a place for us to live? I want a better life for my family. Please write soon.

Juan

Program host
: When Uncle Silvio received the letter from Juan, he wrote a final reply. Here is what he said.

Voice of Silvio
:

Dear Juan:

I am sorry to hear that my advice upset you. I was only being honest. I don’t want you to make the same mistake I made. I sold all my land when I left the village and have nothing to go back to. And it is difficult to find the money for six of us to come home.

Juan, I cannot help you find a place to live. Our home is a small two-room shanty made out of tin and cardboard, and there are six of us. So I cannot offer you a place to stay. Again, I beg you, do not come to the city. I know you will regret it. I will wait to hear from you.

Uncle Silvio

FADE IN MUSIC AND PLAY SOFTLY UNDER NARRATOR AND VOICE OF JUAN.

Program host
: What will Juan do? Will he stay in the village or will he take his family to the city? Here is Juan’s reply to his uncle.

Voice of Juan
:

Dear Uncle Silvio:

I am coming to the city. My decision is final. We will be coming on the bus on Friday. The bus driver will drop us at the city park. Can you meet us there? We don’t want anything from you except to see you.

Juan

FADE OUT MUSIC.

Program host
: So Juan and Claudia and their son moved to the city. But life in the city was difficult, as Uncle Silvio had said. What happened to Juan and his family? Keep listening as Juan tells his story.

Juan
: Hello, it is me, Juan. It has been two years since I brought my family to the city. I can still remember the day we arrived. We came by bus, early one morning. The driver left us near a large park in the city. We spent the next month living in the park.

We searched many weeks for a home. We finally found a place in a poor neighbourhood where a lot of newcomers live. We built a small shed with cardboard and tin from the city dump. We had no latrines and no water in the house. We still don’t. There’s a tap a mile down the road where we collect drinking water. Rats are a problem here. It seems there are more rats here than in the countryside!

I started working at several different jobs. The pay wasn’t good and the jobs didn’t last long. Our money started running out, but I didn’t want to give up. I was promised a job in a factory, and I kept believing that things would change.

Claudia misses life in the country. She planted tomatoes and coriander in an old bucket. But, with no land and not much water, it’s hard to grow much of anything.

One of my biggest hopes was that my young son would go to school, but we don’t have enough money for school fees. Most of the time, my son played in the garbage dump with the other children from the neighbourhood. Claudia didn’t like him playing in the dump, but sometimes he brought home useful scraps, so I didn’t pay much attention. But one day he got sick. He caught a disease from playing in the garbage. Today he is still sick and it is difficult for Claudia and I to take care of him because we work long hours.

So now we have made another decision. We plan to return to our village where our family can help us take care of our son. We don’t know yet how we will get home. Speaking honestly, I think coming to the city was a mistake.

I feel ashamed about returning to our village with less money than when I left. I no longer think the city can provide the things I want. I guess, as the wise people say, experience is sometimes the best teacher. I only wish I had respected Uncle Silvio’s advice — but I have learned the hard way.

FADE IN MUSIC AND CONTINUE QUIETLY UNDER NARRATOR.

Program host
: People who leave the countryside and go to the city to make a better life often are not prepared for the problems they will face. Remember that, although life is hard in rural areas, it can be even harder in the city.

FADE OUT MUSIC.

– END –

Acknowledgements

  • This script was adapted from Developing Countries Farm Radio Network, script 23-7, September 1991. The original script was written by Indira Ganaselall of Guelph, Canada, and formerly from Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies.