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Alone now, he and his father’s elderly mother share a shack thirty feet square. “Your mom can’t send enough,” she says, “so we both have to work.”Enrique loves to climb his grandmother’s guayaba tree, but there is no more time for play now. Jostling among mango and avocado vendors, he sells cups of diced fruit. Instead, Santos spends the money on a long drinking binge with a fifteen-year-old girl on his arm. By the time Santos is gone for two months, Lourdes can no longer make car and apartment payments. The coyotes, as they are called, are often alcoholics or drug addicts. During her journey, the sister calls Long Beach to give regular updates on her progress through Mexico. Two months later, the family hears from a man who was among the group headed north. For a week, Lourdes’s friend doesn’t know what’s become of her toddler. She is proud that her money pays Belky’s tuition at a private high school and eventually a college, to study accounting. After school, Enrique sells tamales and plastic bags of fruit juice from a bucket hung in the crook of his arm. After he turns ten, he rides buses alone to an outdoor food market. His drinking buddy has taken Lourdes’s clothes back to her apartment. Lourdes goes, alone, to get Diana from the hospital. She rents a garage—really a converted single carport. Lourdes and Diana, now two years old, share a mattress on the concrete floor. Usually, a chain of smugglers is used to make the trip. The smugglers put twentyfour migrants into an overloaded boat in Mexico, he says. Lourdes learns that many smugglers ditch children at the first sign of trouble. She keeps count, inflicting one lash for each time Enrique has misbehaved. In a country where nearly half live on

Alone now, he and his father’s elderly mother share a shack thirty feet square. “Your mom can’t send enough,” she says, “so we both have to work.”Enrique loves to climb his grandmother’s guayaba tree, but there is no more time for play now. Jostling among mango and avocado vendors, he sells cups of diced fruit. Instead, Santos spends the money on a long drinking binge with a fifteen-year-old girl on his arm. By the time Santos is gone for two months, Lourdes can no longer make car and apartment payments. The coyotes, as they are called, are often alcoholics or drug addicts. During her journey, the sister calls Long Beach to give regular updates on her progress through Mexico. Two months later, the family hears from a man who was among the group headed north. For a week, Lourdes’s friend doesn’t know what’s become of her toddler. She is proud that her money pays Belky’s tuition at a private high school and eventually a college, to study accounting. After school, Enrique sells tamales and plastic bags of fruit juice from a bucket hung in the crook of his arm. After he turns ten, he rides buses alone to an outdoor food market. His drinking buddy has taken Lourdes’s clothes back to her apartment. Lourdes goes, alone, to get Diana from the hospital. She rents a garage—really a converted single carport. Lourdes and Diana, now two years old, share a mattress on the concrete floor. Usually, a chain of smugglers is used to make the trip. The smugglers put twentyfour migrants into an overloaded boat in Mexico, he says. Lourdes learns that many smugglers ditch children at the first sign of trouble. She keeps count, inflicting one lash for each time Enrique has misbehaved. In a country where nearly half live on $1 or less a day, kids from poor neighborhoods almost never go to college. He sells the few things he owns: his bed, a gift from his mother; his leather jacket, a gift from his dead uncle; his rustic armoire, where he hangs his clothes. His father gives him enough for a soda and wishes him luck.“Grandma, I’m leaving,” Enrique says. She promises to build him a one-room house in the corner of her cramped lot. She gives him 100 lempiras, about $7—all the money she has.“I’m leaving already, sis,” he tells Belky the next morning. They have lived apart most of their lives, but he is the only one who understands her loneliness. “If I call her from there,” he says to José, “how can she not accept me? She fills a wooden box with gum and crackers and cigarettes,and she finds a spot where she can squat on a dusty sidewalk next to the downtown Pizza Hut and sell the items to passersby. It is for them she is leaving, she tells herself,but still she feels guilty. The journey is hard for the Mexicans but harder still for Enrique and the others from Central America. She goes door to door, selling tortillas, used clothes, and plantains. He and Belky are not likely to finish grade school. She will be gone for one year—less, with luck—or she will bring her children to be with her. If she watches over Belky, she will get a set of gold fingernails from el Norte. He will remember only one thing that she says to him: “Don’t forget to go to church this afternoon.”It is January 29, 1989. Roughly two thirds of them will make it past the U. A priest at a Texas shelter says they often bring pictures of themselves in their mothers’ arms. But each time the spoon lands in the girl’s mouth, Lourdes is filled with sadness. But their separation is brief.“Mom,” Enrique’s father tells the grandmother, “I can’t think of anyone but that woman.”Enrique’s father bathes, dresses, splashes on cologne, and follows her. But his father tells him to go back to his grandmother. He loves the children he has with his wife,” he tells Belky. “He looks at me as if he wasn’t my son,as if he wants to strangle me,” he tells Enrique’s grandmother. Enrique's suffering and bravery become universal, and one cannot fail to be moved by the desperation and sheer strength of spirit that guides these lonely wanderers.

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Alone now, he and his father’s elderly mother share a shack thirty feet square. “Your mom can’t send enough,” she says, “so we both have to work.”Enrique loves to climb his grandmother’s guayaba tree, but there is no more time for play now. Jostling among mango and avocado vendors, he sells cups of diced fruit. Instead, Santos spends the money on a long drinking binge with a fifteen-year-old girl on his arm. By the time Santos is gone for two months, Lourdes can no longer make car and apartment payments. The coyotes, as they are called, are often alcoholics or drug addicts. During her journey, the sister calls Long Beach to give regular updates on her progress through Mexico. Two months later, the family hears from a man who was among the group headed north. For a week, Lourdes’s friend doesn’t know what’s become of her toddler. She is proud that her money pays Belky’s tuition at a private high school and eventually a college, to study accounting.

After school, Enrique sells tamales and plastic bags of fruit juice from a bucket hung in the crook of his arm. After he turns ten, he rides buses alone to an outdoor food market. His drinking buddy has taken Lourdes’s clothes back to her apartment. Lourdes goes, alone, to get Diana from the hospital. She rents a garage—really a converted single carport. Lourdes and Diana, now two years old, share a mattress on the concrete floor. Usually, a chain of smugglers is used to make the trip. The smugglers put twentyfour migrants into an overloaded boat in Mexico, he says. Lourdes learns that many smugglers ditch children at the first sign of trouble. She keeps count, inflicting one lash for each time Enrique has misbehaved. In a country where nearly half live on $1 or less a day, kids from poor neighborhoods almost never go to college. He sells the few things he owns: his bed, a gift from his mother; his leather jacket, a gift from his dead uncle; his rustic armoire, where he hangs his clothes. His father gives him enough for a soda and wishes him luck.“Grandma, I’m leaving,” Enrique says. She promises to build him a one-room house in the corner of her cramped lot. She gives him 100 lempiras, about $7—all the money she has.“I’m leaving already, sis,” he tells Belky the next morning. They have lived apart most of their lives, but he is the only one who understands her loneliness. “If I call her from there,” he says to José, “how can she not accept me?

She fills a wooden box with gum and crackers and cigarettes,and she finds a spot where she can squat on a dusty sidewalk next to the downtown Pizza Hut and sell the items to passersby. It is for them she is leaving, she tells herself,but still she feels guilty. The journey is hard for the Mexicans but harder still for Enrique and the others from Central America.

or less a day, kids from poor neighborhoods almost never go to college. He sells the few things he owns: his bed, a gift from his mother; his leather jacket, a gift from his dead uncle; his rustic armoire, where he hangs his clothes. His father gives him enough for a soda and wishes him luck.“Grandma, I’m leaving,” Enrique says. She promises to build him a one-room house in the corner of her cramped lot. She gives him 100 lempiras, about —all the money she has.“I’m leaving already, sis,” he tells Belky the next morning. They have lived apart most of their lives, but he is the only one who understands her loneliness. “If I call her from there,” he says to José, “how can she not accept me? She fills a wooden box with gum and crackers and cigarettes,and she finds a spot where she can squat on a dusty sidewalk next to the downtown Pizza Hut and sell the items to passersby. It is for them she is leaving, she tells herself,but still she feels guilty. The journey is hard for the Mexicans but harder still for Enrique and the others from Central America. She goes door to door, selling tortillas, used clothes, and plantains. He and Belky are not likely to finish grade school. She will be gone for one year—less, with luck—or she will bring her children to be with her. If she watches over Belky, she will get a set of gold fingernails from el Norte. He will remember only one thing that she says to him: “Don’t forget to go to church this afternoon.”It is January 29, 1989. Roughly two thirds of them will make it past the U. A priest at a Texas shelter says they often bring pictures of themselves in their mothers’ arms. But each time the spoon lands in the girl’s mouth, Lourdes is filled with sadness. But their separation is brief.“Mom,” Enrique’s father tells the grandmother, “I can’t think of anyone but that woman.”Enrique’s father bathes, dresses, splashes on cologne, and follows her. But his father tells him to go back to his grandmother. He loves the children he has with his wife,” he tells Belky. “He looks at me as if he wasn’t my son,as if he wants to strangle me,” he tells Enrique’s grandmother. Enrique's suffering and bravery become universal, and one cannot fail to be moved by the desperation and sheer strength of spirit that guides these lonely wanderers.

She commiserates with a friend whose mother has also left. They know a girl whose mother died of a heart attack. But Rosa Amalia thinks the separation has caused deep emotional problems. Gutters carry rain off the patched tin roof into two barrels. He punches Lourdes in the chest, knocking her to the ground. She only wants him to work and to be honorable, so that he can hold his head up high. Lourdes arranges for her eldest brother, Marco Antonio Zablah, to take him in. Give me a kiss, Mom,” he pleads, over and over, pursing his lips. Counselors and immigration lawyers say only half of them get help from smugglers. A University of Houston study found that most are robbed, beaten, or raped, usually several times. Since the 1990s, Mexico and the United States have tried to thwart them. I am unaware of any journalist who has voluntarily placed herself in greater peril to nail down a story than did Nazario.”— Steve Weinberg, former Executive Director of Investigative Reporters and Editors, The Baltimore Sun “A story of heartache, brutality, and love deferred that is near mythic in its power.”—Los Angeles Magazine“Stunning . Look, Mom,” he says softly, asking her questions about everything he sees. They must make an illegal and dangerous trek up the length of Mexico. They are hunted like animals by corrupt police, bandits, and gang members deported from the United States. Thousands, shelter workers say, make their way through Mexico clinging to the sides and tops of freight trains. As an adventure narrative alone, Enrique’s Journey is a worthy read. Often, they don’t know where or when they’ll get their next meal. If a train stops even briefly,they crouch by the tracks, cup their hands, and steal sips of water from shiny puddles tainted with diesel fuel. They navigate by word of mouth or by the arc of the sun. There, in the downtown Greyhound bus terminal, the smuggler tells Lourdes to wait while he runs a quick errand. The smuggler has been paid to take her all the way to Miami. Lourdes musses her filthy hair, trying to blend in with the homeless and not get singled out by police. She moves in with a Beverly Hills couple to take care of their three-year-old daughter. Every morning as the couple leave for work, the little girl cries for her mother. She prays to God to put someone before her, to show her the way. Their spacious home has carpet on the floors and mahogany panels on the walls. Lourdes feeds her breakfast and thinks of Enrique and Belky. I’m giving this girl food instead of feeding my own children.”To get the girl to eat, Lourdes pretends the spoon is an airplane. In time, Enrique’s love turns to contempt.“He doesn’t love me. Braving unimaginable peril, often clinging to the sides and tops of freight trains, Enrique travels through hostile worlds full of thugs, bandits, and corrupt cops. It’s about home.”—The Washington Post Book World “[A] searing report from the immigration frontlines . Many, including Enrique, begin to idealize their mothers. But he pushes forward, relying on his wit, courage, hope, and the kindness of strangers. They remember how their mothers fed and bathed them, how they walked them to kindergarten. She imagines herself home at dusk, playing with Enrique under a eucalyptus tree in her mother’s front yard. The border will continue to trouble the dreams of anyone who is paying attention. Lourdes crosses into the United States in one of the largest immigrant waves in the country’s history. She enters at night through a rat-infested Tijuana sewage tunnel and makes her way to Los Angeles. On the loading dock, under a gray tin roof, women sort red and green tomatoes. As she puts tomatoes into boxes, she hallucinates that she is slicing open a juicy one and sprinkling it with salt. Lourdes’s brother has a friend in Los Angeles who helps Lourdes get a fake Social Security card and a job. Maybe, Lourdes tells herself—if she stays long enough—they will help her become legal.