Perla Trevizo’s favorite stories of 2014

December 19, 2014 - garden totes

Delmar Soto left his local Guatemala when his daughter Karen was usually a baby and his son Marcony wasn’t nonetheless born.

First he attempted to make a go of it operative construction in adjacent Mexico, usually going behind to accommodate his daughter Karen. Years later, he altered on to a United States before Marcony distinguished his initial birthday.

For many of his children’s early years, he was in this country, picking tomatoes in a Florida fields and deboning duck breasts during a ornithology plants in Delaware.

He wanted to give his kids an education, to offer them a shot during a brighter future.

But it wasn’t enough.

He came home, yet eventually his kids started articulate about leaving. Marcony was still a teen when he gave adult hope. Last year, during age 17, he done a dangerous trek by a Arizona dried on his approach to a same duck plant where Delmar had worked.

Now it’s Karen’s turn. But a 22-year-old isn’t going alone; she’s bringing her 6-year-old daughter Lizeth along for a fraudulent journey.


The Soto family comes from a tiny encampment surrounded by immature hills and forests, usually a few miles from a Mexican border.

Like their neighbors, they are farmers, flourishing mostly potatoes and corn. If it rains usually enough, Delmar can make about $200 any 4 months offering his potato stand to tiny companies that discharge them in Mexico.

Karen and Marcony spent their childhood in a tiny sand residence with a roof done of straw. For a stove, a family used 3 stones with a roaster on top.

They didn’t have much, yet conjunction did other families they knew. More than half of Guatemala’s 15.5 million people live in poverty, and 15 percent move home reduction than $1.25 a day. Money sent behind by immigrants, mostly from a United States, is a nation’s largest source of revenue.

With Delmar away, Karen and Marcony were lifted mostly by their mother, who was mostly ill. More than once Karen remembers saying organisation loading Veronica onto a bracket and carrying her downhill to a nearest doctor, in a city some-more than an hour away.

At 5, Karen became her mother’s tiny helper. She kept a residence clean, collected timber to prepare and took caring of Marcony when their mom was too ill to do it herself.

When she found time to play, she climbed trees and slid off a tiny precipice circuitously her home. Her dolls were done from rags, her tea set fashioned from a rejected sardine can and vale rocks.

She and a other encampment girls desired to play conform model. They didn’t have imagination dresses, yet they’d repair any other’s hair and strut around with sweaters tied around their waists.

More than 3,000 miles away, her father saw zero of this.

He had no suspicion what his children favourite to eat, what games they favourite to play. He knew zero of their talents or their dreams.

“Papi,” they’d ask when he’d call them during a phone counter in a adjacent town, “When are we entrance home?”

Delmar initial came to a United States in 1996 as a 25-year-old father of two, usually as a emigration of Guatemalans began to surge. A assent settle had finished a longest and many aroused polite quarrel in Central America, that left 200,000 people upheld and hundreds of thousands displaced. But after years of assault and fear, Guatemala’s economy was in shambles; coffee prices had plunged.

Delmar, like many of his countrymen, found no opportunities during home.

Leaving was not his initial choice. It was his last.

He was left for 4 years, initial to Florida and afterwards on to Delaware, where he had listened about ornithology plants that paid $8 an hour.

After a year behind home, he left again for Delaware, this time for 5 years.

Both times he crossed by Arizona’s oppressive desert, that friends pronounced supposing a best possibility of slipping past la migra — they told him that Border Patrol agents in tools of Texas and California stood many shoulder to shoulder.

In 2006, he returned home for good.

“My children indispensable me,” he said. “They wanted me to be there for them.”

At first, he feared he had done a wrong decision. The income he had saved ran out quickly.

But he had achieved his dual goals: to put his children by propagandize and to build a cinder-block house. He altered his family from a encampment to Tacaná, a city of roughly 80,000 people in a dialect of San Marcos, where a largest share of migrants come from.

Had he never left, it would have taken him 30 years to save adequate income to build his four-room house. And he can’t suppose how else he could have come adult with a roughly $3,000 he would have indispensable to put Karen and Marcony by high school.

Grade propagandize in Guatemala is free, yet many high-school students compensate for things like registration fees, uniforms, propagandize reserve and transportation.

But notwithstanding their father’s sacrifice, a siblings graduated into a destiny that looked as dour as their father’s had once looked. There are no jobs for immature people, generally in education.

“For any training spot,” Marcony said, “there are 200 people competing for it.”

Karen, who had a baby when she was 16, attempted her fitness as a nanny in Cancún, Mexico, to assistance support her relatives and her daughter. But that lasted usually 4 months — she missed her daughter terribly and she didn’t acquire adequate to make a subdivision worthwhile.

Three years later, still with no job, she was flourishing desperate.

Guatemala has one of a world’s tip rates of killings targeting women, with victims mostly raped, tortured and mutilated. And a assault had come to Tacaná. A lame physique of a lady was found dumped in a forest. People started staying inside during night.

Then Karen listened a rumor: The U.S. supervision was giving women with children an event to go to a United States.

Unlike her brother, she wouldn’t have to travel days and nights by a Arizona desert, where some-more than 2,200 people have died in a final decade.

She wouldn’t have to run from Border Patrol agents.

All she had to do was compensate a pollero to safeguard her protected thoroughfare on a train by Mexico and make it to a border. There, she would spin herself in and be sent on her way.

If she were ever going to leave, it was time.


On a approach to her new life in a United States, Karen carried a blue, pocket-sized Bible and dual changes of garments for herself and her daughter, all tucked inside her zebra-print handbag. In her pants slot is a resin parcel on that she’s scrawled a phone series of her hermit in Delaware.

She and Lizeth rose early on Jul 2 to locate a 8 a.m. train out of town.

Her relatives and grandparents came along for a initial leg to Motozintla, Chiapas, about an hour away. They gave a span uninformed fruit and yogurt for a journey.

They had pronounced their good-byes in Guatemala. They had betrothed not to cry.

Resigned, Delmar begged Karen to be careful. “I wish we get to accomplish all we want,” he told his usually daughter.

He didn’t wish her to go, to take divided a tiny lady who called him and Veronica mom and dad. They had lifted Lizeth as their possess so Karen could finish high school.

“I don’t know what happened,” Delmar said, doubtful that things had incited out this way. “I attempted to give them a destiny so they could have a improved life.”

But his son had still left, and now his daughter and granddaughter were going.

He had failed.

“How is it possible,” he wondered, “that we couldn’t be with my children and now they can’t be with me?”

Karen felt a sadness, too.

“My heart was broken,” she said. “But we attempted to consider that all of this was going to be for something. That a scapegoat was going to be value it.”

Migrants mostly are extorted or beaten, infrequently kidnapped or raped, during a tour tranquil by orderly crime and hurtful officials.

Karen was lucky. She was questioned twice by immigration officials and military officers during her three-day outing to a border, and both times she was giveaway to go.

She had told Lizeth again and again that she shouldn’t pronounce to anyone, so when a officers boarded a bus, a tiny lady sealed her eyes and simulated to be asleep.

The one time they attempted to pester Karen into revelation she was from Guatemala, she insisted she was Mexican until they gave adult and left her alone.

Mother and daughter arrived in Altar, Sonora, during about 5 a.m., Jul 5. Shops in a town, about 170 miles southwest of Tucson, batch all immigrants need for their journey: socks, hats, backpacks, deception persperate pants and locally done slippers that go over boots to equivocate withdrawal footprints.

The raider they hired took them to one of Altar’s scarcely 100 flophouses, outline places where migrants rest and showering before they cranky a border.

They stayed in a room with 4 beds — dual people in any one. Karen couldn’t sleep. There was no atmosphere conditioner and she wasn’t prepared for a triple-digit temperatures.

That evening, she, Lizeth and 5 other people were rushed on feet by a Mexican dried to equivocate authorities, and forsaken off during a border.

“Just keep walking,” a beam told them. “The Border Patrol will find we shortly enough.”

It would be a 10-minute walk, he promised.

With usually a gallon of H2O for a dual of them, a organisation started walking. Karen doesn’t know where they were, yet Border Patrol papers she after perceived contend they were circuitously Lukeville.

At one indicate they suspicion they listened vehicles nearby. As instructed, they threw divided a cellphone a beam had given them in box there was trouble.

It was a fake alarm. They kept walking. It was removing dark. They were removing tired.

“I’m hungry,” Lizeth whined. Desperate, they attempted to hit down some irritated pears fruit to eat, yet usually immature immature ones fell to a dried floor. The developed ones clung to a cactus.

At 22, Karen was a eldest of a group. With her were 5 teenagers, one of them profound and one usually 13 years old.

She had to take charge.

“Let’s go behind to find a phone,” she told them, “then demeanour for some place to sleep.”

She found a place that looked transparent of shrubs and cacti, and they done a tiny temporary camp. With Lizeth —who is half her size— on tip of her chest, Karen laid watchful all night while a others slept. If a scorpions, rattlesnakes and spiders she had been warned about showed up, she’d be ready.


As a object rose, a organisation started to travel along a highway again. Just after 7 a.m., they speckled Border Patrol agents.

“They asked us where we were from, where we were going to, a names and if we wanted to see a judge,” Lizeth pronounced in her sing-songy voice, “and we pronounced yes.”

Karen and Lizeth were processed with a others and taken to a Border Patrol hire in Tucson, where they stayed in what limit crossers have labeled “hieleras,” or ice boxes, due to a cold temperatures inside.

At about 2:30 p.m. on Jul 7, agents forsaken them off, along with other mothers with their children who had recently crossed, outward a downtown Greyhound train station.

In her palm was a square of paper with their date to news to an immigration officer and a yellow gummy note with a acknowledgment series of their train tickets her hermit had bought for them. Karen hoped she’d be means to figure out what to do. Before they walked inside, they sat down on a belligerent and put their shoelaces behind in their shoes. Border Patrol agents had private them for what they contend is a limit crossers’ safety.

To their surprise, Karen and Lizeth were welcomed inside a hire by volunteers who uncover adult to offer migrants a comfortable meal, a change of clothes, toys for a children and superintendence on navigating a United States train and immigration systems.

“It was such a relief,” Karen pronounced later. “It gave me hope.”

They sat on a gray chairs watchful for a 7:50 p.m. train float that would take them some-more than 2,300 miles, by 12 states and some-more than two-dozen stops. Their destination: Dover, Del., where her hermit was watchful for them.

Volunteers gave them a play of unfeeling soup and receptacle bags pressed with granola bars, toiletries and H2O for a road.

Karen threw divided a unwashed sleeveless pinkish shirt she had crossed with and altered into a blue Angry Birds t-shirt she found in one of a cosmetic bins of donated clothes.

When it was time to go, volunteers helped Karen and Lizeth find seats on a blue and gray bus, afterwards handed Karen a zip-close bag full of baked beans and rice. They hugged a mom and daughter good-bye and offering them a blessing.

Karen and Lizeth were on their possess once again.


For a scarcely 4 day outing to Delaware, Karen was given a smoke-stack of 15 pieces of paper, all with numbers and letters that can be treacherous even for English speakers.

Each time a train stopped, she pulled out a square of paper that listed a times and places where she had to change buses. The instructions were in Spanish for her to review — and in English in box she indispensable to ask for help.

Buses stop any 4 hours. Passengers are approaching to know their re-boarding passes and know when they have to be behind on a bus.

Some stops are for 10 to 15 minutes, others can be for a few hours and engage removing off one train and onto another one. When it was time to stand behind on residence in El Paso, a motorist asked for Karen’s ticket, yet she had left it on a bus.

“You can’t do that lady, it wastes time,” he scolded her in Spanish. “Go get it.”

After that, she always kept her tickets inside her cloak pocket.

That wasn’t a usually challenge. In El Paso, even yet a motorist was grumpy, he spoke Spanish. After Abilene, Texas, it was English only.

On a morning of Jul 9, Karen gazed out a window while Lizeth told her stories. Little Red Riding Hood and a Three Little Pigs are her favorites.

Both tales are about families, and Karen’s mind wandered behind to Guatemala.

“I was wondering when we would see them again,” she pronounced later. “Asking myself either this was value it.”

Outwardly, she attempted her best to keep a tour pleasant. She and Lizeth slept, snuggled together underneath a sky-blue beach sweeping Karen found among a donated equipment during a Tucson train station.

Whenever Lizeth woke up, she would lift a coloring book she got in Tucson from her pinkish Jonas brothers receptacle bag. She would tone for hours, holding caring to stay inside a lines as her mom had taught her.

Always circuitously was a tiny plush penguin with a blue headband that she got from a train station. Whatever she ate, she offering some to a penguin.

She doesn’t know immigration law, yet she does know a reasons for their trip: “We came to see my uncle and to work to assistance compensate for my mom’s medicine given her shoulder hurts.”

And she has been by adequate to know a Spanish jargon for immigration officials.

Flipping by photos on a passenger’s iPhone on a train one day, she stopped on a scenic design of a Arizona desert. “So,” she asked a phone’s owner, “where did la migra locate you?”

When a train rolled by Dallas, Lizeth looked in astonishment during a hulk drum coasters during Six Flags.

“I’m going to tell my uncle to take me there,” she said.

And when they upheld Atlanta’s skyscrapers, both mother’s and daughter’s eyes widened.

“Look during that one, Mommy, that one is tall,” Lizeth said.

Neither of them had seen buildings so big, nonetheless Delmar had once talked of sanatorium buildings where we could expostulate to a top.

Riding by Georgia, one day divided from saying Marcony, Lizeth was meditative about what they would do together.

“I’m going to tell him to learn me how to float and to take me to a zoo,” she pronounced with a far-reaching smile.

Marcony started articulate about entrance to a United States when he was 15, yet his father insisted that he finish school.

“He would tell me that we usually come to suffer, that things are really different,” Marcony said.

But he saw no alternative. If there were jobs in Guatemala, he said, he would have stayed.

“Who’s going to wish to quit to another country, risking your life, your health, if there were opportunities over there?”

Like his sister would eventually do, he crossed by a Arizona desert, yet doing that meant walking for 3 days and 4 nights. He didn’t know afterwards that there was a opposite routine for underage limit crossers to assistance them reunite with family members while their box is pending.

Instead, he ran as discerning as he could when a Border Patrol found them, about 30 mins from where a float was watchful for him, his uncle and a cousin.

He wasn’t discerning enough. After a agents processed him and schooled he was a minor, they sent him to a preserve for unparalleled girl in Glendale, where he spent a month before he was reunited with his uncle in Delaware.

More than a year later, Lizeth and Karen are about to join him.


The train slowed to a stop in front of Kent General Hospital in Dover, 10 mins forward of a scheduled 12:40 p.m. attainment time.

Karen and Lizeth, clutching their receptacle bags, waited during a dilemma of Hope and Governors streets until Karen saw a blue minivan. “That’s him,” she said.

Lizeth ran with open arms toward a immature male with spiky hair and a mottled pinkish and blue shirt.

“Chaparrita,” or Shorty, he told her as he knelt down to welcome her. “I’ve missed we so much.”

He handed Karen a white t-shirt on that he used a pen to pull a names of their family and a message: “We were praying for you.”

It has been a year and 6 months given they final saw any other.

“We were usually articulate over a phone a week ago, when they were still in Guatemala,” he said, full of wonder. “It’s like a dream, difference can’t explain what I’m feeling.”

Their initial stop, Walmart. They walked aisle after aisle of toys, clothes, food.

“In Guatemala, there’s no income for new clothes,” Karen said. But now they’re in a United States, land of a disposable income.

“Do we like this skirt?” she asked Lizeth.

What followed was a loyal American offered spree, finale with dual Hello Kitty skirts and shirts, a pinkish Minnie Mouse shirt and a span of sparkly Barbie sandals.

Next adult was a discerning stop for Chinese takeout, afterwards on to a mobile home Karen and Lizeth will share with Marcony, a cousin and a Guatemalan lady and her dual children.

Karen, a housewife given early childhood, immediately went to work cleaning a tiny space. Lizeth ran outward after usually a few bites of cooking and got bustling creation new friends.

Before long, another first: An ice cream lorry rolled by, and Marcony gave any child a dollar bill. Lizeth mulled a princess popsicle, yet eventually chose a watermelon-flavored ice pop, giggling and jumping adult and down while she waited for it.

Before long, she was bossing a other children and training to play Angry Birds on a inscription computer.

“Yes!” she squealed when she scored.


Karen, Lizeth, Marcony and their cousin will share one tiny bedroom in a mobile home. Karen doesn’t mind a tiny space or that there’s usually one bed.

“We are used to it,” she pronounced as she swept a floor.

They’ll join a flourishing Guatemalan village in Southern Delaware, many of whom arrived with a same dream that drew Delmar here in a late 1990s: to acquire adequate income to build a residence and to put their kids by school.

“When we was a kid, my dream was to have my possess automobile and home,” Marcony said. “It’s still my dream.”

But now he sees a cost he’s paid. By entrance here, he said, “I fundamentally exchanged my family for money.”

He recently had medicine to mislay his appendix and he had no one to demeanour after him.

“There are nights we cry underneath a blankets,” he said, “but we have to consider that a destiny is going to demeanour brighter.”

He started high propagandize in Delaware as a freshman, yet finds it tough to fit in. He doesn’t pronounce many English. Children of immigrants innate here make fun of him, he said, instead of assisting him when he mispronounces a word.

When he is not in propagandize he works during a duck plant – a same place Karen will substantially work, cleaning and slicing birds.

He’s operative to compensate off a $5,500 he borrowed to come to a United States; to send income behind to his family; and to cover a losses for Karen and Lizeth’s trip.

After that, he’ll start operative toward his possess dreams. He wants to buy a automobile to start a business, maybe offering furnish out of it. If he thinks big, he competence open his possess automobile wash.

“As prolonged as I’m alive,” he said, “I’m going to work to grasp my dreams.”

Karen wants to give behind to a relatives who did so many for her and Lizeth.

“I wish them to have improved food,” she said, “and vitamins.”

She’d also like to buy them a vital room set, to have her possess home, to have income so she doesn’t have to count on anyone.

More immediately, they both wish to get lawyers to quarrel for accede to stay in this country. Marcony, now 18, has his initial justice date in Dec after one final year was cancelled for reasons he doesn’t understand. He pronounced he consulted with 3 lawyers anticipating to find help, yet they all assign between $8,000 and $10,000.

Karen is ostensible to seem before an immigration central on Aug. 7 in Baltimore, about dual hours from South Delaware. She and Lizeth are paroled until Oct. 8.

With that over their heads, it’s tough to know what to do, Karen said. Should they live in a shadows, stealing among a estimated 11.5 million bootleg immigrants in this country? Should they uncover adult in justice and fight? And if they do, on what drift will they ask for accede to stay?

She overcame her hostility to leave her family and survived what could have been a hazardous tour to a new land. But those things are nothing, in her mind, compared with her fear of being deported.

“Not usually did we not strech your goals, yet now we go behind with a debt we can’t pay,” she said. “If they send we back, that’s a biggest disaster of your life.”

More totes ...

› tags: garden totes /