Travel to the Moon

Raquel was born in Chile. When she was 6 years old, she attended a small primary school a few blocks from her home in Santiago. The teacher, who was a big, strong woman, with a hoarse voice, imposing but tender, told the children to prepare themselves for a great adventure and to take everything necessary for a trip to the Moon! Raquel prepared a bag with food, toys and a pillow. She was so fascinated with the idea of going to the moon that the day before she couldn't sleep.

The long-awaited day arrived. She said good-bye to her parents and, as usual, they said: “Take care.” Raquel went early to school with a pillow almost as big as herself. It was a hot summer day and there was a lot of light coming in through the windows. The teacher told the children to rest their heads on their folded arms at their desks, close their eyes and picture what she was going to tell them, step by step. Raquel was confused, she didn’t know if they were really going to the Moon or not. So, she concentrated and started to travel. The most difficult moment was to leave Earth with her body! Eventually, this is how they travelled to the Moon, with their imagination. Raquel was really disappointed, angry, and sad. She went home crying and told her mom that actually the trip to the Moon was a lie, that they had not gone to the Moon, and that they had not even left the classroom.

A few years later, in the 1980s under the dictatorship, Raquel began to use her imagination to travel since she spent most of her time inside her home or in the school, rather than outside. The first thing she heard at home when she got up at 7:00 a.m. to go to school was Radio Cooperativa. It began with fast-paced, frantic, and alarming opening music. It made her feel that something bad was going to happen and that it was imminent. The first time Raquel heard the phrase "Jornada de Paro Nacional" (National Strike Day) was on this radio. Raquel didn't quite understand what that was or meant. At night people began to pass through the streets of her neighbourhood. She only saw what the window allowed her to see. There was intense noise, as people shouted while hitting pots and pans.

There were also explosions, after which her mother told her and her sister to leave the window, saying that it was dangerous, that the military was in the streets and that those explosions were gunshots. At this moment, Raquel remembered the nights- a few years ago- she had spent time with her mother, her sister and the dog under the table, while her mother had insulated the house with mattresses. She remembered the noise of helicopters machine-gunning the neighbourhood, the house, and the courtyard.

Raquel imagined that she was going out into the street, that she was going through the door of her house and that she was screaming with the adults. On quieter days, without "National Strike Day", there were often electricity cuts, everything was dark and silent. In the darkness, Raquel imagined that she was travelling, not to the moon but to other countries. She had drawn a world map and on it, she located and imagined crossing the mountain and the sea of her country and going to distant places.