Gutted from the Outside In

Fighting with the colonizers in the Congo is presented to us in more than one way in Tram 83. From the opening scene you can get a sense of struggle and hard times. The way the infrastructure is in ruins and hanging on by a thread. From the train not being reliable for the students to go to and from school to the train station “gutted by artillery” (page 1). The scars of the country are on display for us to see around the characters.

Even with the people of the Congo being free form the country that ruled them in the past. They are still living in the aftermath. Because of those battels, they cannot have basic things. Without the reliability of the train how can people of the Congo better themselves with education. It is a vicious cycle that is hard to break out of. Without proper education, the economy will continue to be about prostitution and hard labor at the mines.

The way the author explains how the artillery shells gutted the metal structure sounds more like how it actually gutted the citizens of their humanity. I feel the way that there are so many young girls selling their bodies and that there is nothing wrong with that that you can see how they are gutted. They have no support to be kids and no other way to live and make money. It is such a different way of life from the way we live here it’s hard to wrap our heads around the concept of middle schoolers being prostitutes.

All these issues go back to gutted metal stricter that is called the train station. Transportation of not only people but also basic goods. If you think back to our history here, we boomed once we had the train stations here in the US. If you look all over the world we can see that trains are arteries for civilizations. As long as the trains are unreliable and the stations are gutted by the artillery shells, the people cannot recover from their gruesome history.pexels-photo-894312.jpeg


Flexin’ Power


Growing up in the United States we do not view corruption like some other parts in the world. Though we may have some corruption in our own government it is nothing like it is in other places of the world. In Tram 83 we see how underbelly politics effects the people of the city-state. Imagine going to work and being told that your government, the people in charge of you, the ones who are supposed to help you out and make life easier for you are not opening the place you work. Not for safety issues or any other respectable reason to close a place down but rather because the person in charge is either upset at something or has personal reasons to have it closed. We can see this example on page 205 when the General says “I am closing all the mines in the City-State until further notice…”. He was upset that some nude photos were taking of him and published. He flexed his power to show that he shouldn’t be messed with.

This goes to show how much corruption of power can take place in some countries. The corruption causes all types of harm. In this case it harms the regular citizen form making money. Having the mine closed for a day can be the difference for some of these people to go to bed hungry or to have the right medicine for their sick child. There are people that go day to day, and without a job for even a day, they can lose everything.

I think it is safe to say that the idea we have of corruption in the United States is nowhere near what Tram 83 shows. Our corruption is more about certain policies being passed, I am not saying that our corruption is good but rather I am saying that it is better than what the General displays. It affects us to a point but nowhere near the way it effects the individuals in Tram 83.




Hello, hola, bonjour, shalom,hallo, all these words mean the same thing, hello. A greeting that we all do many times a day but does it actually have the same meaning in each language. I say no. Hello can be said in so many ways, the way we say hello can change everything on how the conversation or how we look at someone. In 19 Ways we can see how the same words translated in different ways. It is hard for one language to truly produce the same effect of words in another language. The words just do not cross lines that way. The expressions and the images that one culture can paint in their heads will be different with what language it is translated in.

As you can see in 19 Ways, the exact translation to English from ancient chines isn’t very smooth and doesn’t flow the way it probably flowed in its original language. It also hast at least 19 different ways that it could be translated to English to bring the poem to life for us to enjoy.


Struggling to stay Afloat


“Suddenly the world turned cold and green and filled with invisible water monsters dragging her away from the rubber raft:..” page 39


I believe there is a different meaning then what is written in the book in regards to the quote above. The image of Makina being tossed from the raft and struggling to get across the river foreshadows the obstacles that she will encounter on her journey through the United States. This takes place when she is not even in the new country, and she is already struggling on her journey. It is also one of the first times that she does not seem to have control of her situation. It is an unusual situation to find herself in through the first couple chapters of the book but something we see a lot of later in the book.

Since the Rio Grande is the border between the two nations, it is the first time you see the “psychological boarder” fighting her. It almost seems that mother nature is fighting her to stay where she is. Makina is so strong willed that she doesn’t let that happen and even says “that in the end she’d wind up where she needed to be”. Crossing the border into the United States is, up until I read the book, was crossing the border. My whole perspective now is that it is one of many challenges that immigrants face when coming to a new country.

This imagine of Makina and the river has stuck with me through the whole story. It paints such a clear picture in my mind of the struggle she is willing to go through to find her brother. She literally puts her life on the line to find him. She goes on this journey with no guarantee that she will actually find him. It was at this point in the book that I saw her become who she was supposed to be, a strong and determined individual.