“Enrique’s Journey” – Author: Sonia Nazario


enriquesjourneyThe majority of the population in this country is made up of immigrants that have had to face many obstacles to get here, there are countless reasons for which they have had to leave their countries, some come here to escape wars, persecution or other social problems like hunger and poverty, these two being the most common reason for which they emigrate.  Some immigrants have to cross only one border, but others have to cross more than one, depending on their country of origin, those who live on another continent also have to
face the challenge of crossing the ocean; a long journey that’s probably not easy for them to travel also, but that now we can see in an excellent investigation that’s been very well documented by writer Sonia Nazario, who didn’t think twice about experiencing for herself “ENRIQUE’S JOURNEY”.
This book completely immerses us into the dream of a young boy and his enormous desire to be reunited with his mother who without thinking twice, left everything she had behind including her two children in an effort to look for a better future for them.  For many immigrants this is probably nothing out of the ordinary, since they themselves probably have a story to tell as well; however this book is very touching due to the harsh reality it exposes.
This is the story of a very risky journey in which Lourdes, – the mother of Enrique who was abandoned by her husband and was left to face the difficult situation of not being able to cover basic necessities along with her two children- desperately makes and decides to leave her native country of Honduras and risk it all in order to emigrate to the United States, a country she’s heard so much about in which she thinks (like many other immigrants) it will be very easy to find a job, send money back home and be back by Christmas.  Time goes by and before they know it eleven years have gone by in which she has still not been able to keep her promise, tired of waiting, Enrique decides to go find her and takes the risky journey from Tegucigalpa to North Carolina in search of his mother.  Alone, with very little money and a piece of paper in which he only has his mother’s phone number written down and having to face many dangerous tasks, he learns after eight attempts how to break down his obstacles, and on his ninth attempt, 122 days, twelve-thousand miles later and eleven years older from the day his mother left him, he makes his dream of reuniting once again with his mother come true.
Anyone would think this is a fairy-tale ending; they reunite and live happily ever after, but unfortunately in this case, after the stage of euphoria and a couple of days have passed by, there came many complaints and arguments, in which these individuals have to face the consequences of the trauma caused by their separation, which most frequently are: rebelliousness and frustration that’s reflected in dropping out of school, alcoholism, drug addiction, gang affiliation, including early pregnancy among others.  There and then is when they come to realize the price they had to pay for trying to achieve “the American Dream”, that’s when Enrique’s mother asks herself, “was all this sacrifice worth it?”
This book is a good example of how many Latino children that have been abandoned at such a young age by their parents-, who’ve immigrated to the United States in search of jobs-grow up and live with thought of someday reuniting with them.  These children grow up along with that feeling of abandonment that many times they don’t get over and don’t think of the benefits they receive from their mothers, it seems that the need of having them close by is much stronger and that’s what they desperately look for and they go off in search of them without thinking about how dangerous it can be as long as they find them.
This is a book for all types of readers; for those who have public or political positions this should not go unnoticed because this book shows many of the social problems and failures in the governments system so much in our Latin countries as well as in this one.  For those who are thinking about emigrating and believe everything here is easy, it’s a wake up call they should take seriously and think about twice before making the decision of risking it all for nothing, in many cases people end up injured and left in a situation far worse then what they were in before taking this journey.
Many tragedies and deaths would be prevented if the majority of the people here and in our own native countries would take the time to read this book.  So, have you read it yet?

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