The People You Meet

If you pay attention just a bit, the stories you meet just walking around town will break or heart or, I guess, gladden it if you one of that type. Me? The stories destroy me. And infuriate. 

Fransisco, 33 years old, was in the U.S. since he was 13. He was a diesel mechanic in Phoenix with a wife and two kids. Fransisco was picked up for a routine traffic violation and ended up in detention for 4 months, shuttled around between Arizona, California and Texas until he was deported to Nogales, Sonora. 

Eduardo, in his 50s lived in Phoenix for over 20 years. He has a wife and several grown kids. Eduardo was picked up because he phoned in a domestic abuse alert to the authorities. He was deported in 2010 and has been trying to get back to his family ever since. 

Augostine, in his 40s, travelled from Vera Cruz, Mexico. He attempted to walk through the desert to find work in the U.S. but was caught and deported after three days. 

Nelson, 31, first walked through the desert when he was 16. Worked, married, had babies (two with one on the way) in NYC. Got picked up for driving without a license and deported, flown to Honduras. Immediately turned around and headed north to get back with his family. Spent two months traveling the treacherous voyage to reach Nogales, Sonora where he waited for an opportunity to cross. After weeks of getting to know Nelson, one day he was gone. Hopefully successfully north to his family. For 6 months since he wanders through my mind, me sending out prayers of his safety and success. 

Jesus, mid-30s, lived in L.A. with his family. Got picked up and deported. Attempted, unsuccessfully, to recross the desert, got bite by a spider that caused a huge cavernous hole in his arm. Has been in Nogales, Sonora for three months since. Waiting.

Two girls from Oaxaca, looked very young but said they were 20. Attempted to cross through the desert in a group of 6 women. Got lost and wandered for three days until picked up and deported. Not sure where the other four women are. 

Fernando, mid-20s, from Palenque, first crossed into the U.S. when he was 13 and was there 12 years. Lived in South Carolina, married, 1 kid and 1 on the way. Picked up for a D.U.I and charged for weed. Deported. This was his second deportation - first was two years ago, after which he successfully walked back into the U.S. This time, he attempted to once again walk back but got lost and wandered in the desert for a week. Saw rattlers and drank cactus water. He met up with and joined another group in the desert but fell behind and got separated. Joined with another group but got caught by Border Patrol and deported.