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A Wife's Story: Ana

“We used to be a united family. It’s strange now. Everything changed,” Ana* said as her four-year old daughter dashed around the living area. In February 2015, Ana’s husband of seven years, Jorge*, left for the United States, taking their six year old son, Alejandro*, with him, hoping to have better chance of successfully crossing the border. He had previously worked in the United States from 2003 to 2008. “He didn’t want to leave us but then he suddenly changed his mind,” Ana said of his second journey to the US. “He didn’t make a lot of plans.”

“I felt awful sending my son, but it’s for a better future for him. Everything is better for him, and he’s going to get a good education,” she said. She hopes that he learns English while he is there.

The journey to the States, “it’s not easy,” Ana said. “They suffered. They didn’t eat, they went without water. They would go eating only an egg and an apple all day. Alejandro’s legs hurt a lot.” At one point his leg was punctured by a cactus.

“They went through ugly places,” she said. At a pit stop along the way, they stayed in a small dark house filled with many people in Mexico. On the other side of the border, however, a church in the US gave them food.

Crossing the border doesn’t end troubles, though. One night while cooking outdoors, the smoke from the fire wafted to the attention of an immigration helicopter. Immigration patrol trucks took Jorge and Alejandro to an immigration detention center for two or three days.

“They were only given a sandwich and water,” Ana added indignantly. Their case is currently being processed by the court and they must attend necessary court dates, but are conditionally free to live outside of a center. They live with his brother and sister, who are able to support them.

Jorge thinks about returning to Honduras soon, but he needs to make money. He works in drywall and roofing. He and Alejandro plan to return after two to three years in the States.

When asked what she dreams for the future of Mangulile or what she would change, she responded, “What would I change? Everything!” she said. “There’s no source of employment and without employment, it’s not easy.” She thinks a building a restaurant or hotel would provide employment and would like there to be other social projects in the community and for roads to be paved. For her children, she hopes they are able to study to secure a good career, but “there’s little money for everything.”

Life is different for the family on both sides of the border. Ana’s husband now has to take care of their son after work. He helps him with homework, bathes him, and cooks for him, a change in responsibility for him because he didn’t do these things at home in Honduras.

Ana’s life in Honduras has also changed. “Every time I eat, drink, or sleep I think about them not being here,” she said. She said that she sometimes feels depressed. “Going to church is hard because of the memories of them being there.” Ana has great concerns for Alejandro. “There’s a huge difference between the love for a brother and the love for a son.” Yet, “God gives us support.”

*All the names in this story have been changed to protect the family’s identities.

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