Sonia Nazario’s book, Enrique’s Journey: The Story of a Boy’s Dangerous Odyssey to Reunite With His Mother, is an account of the journey of one boy who travels from Honduras to North Carolina, USA, to find his mother. The book is an extension of a series of articles that Nazario wrote for the Los Angeles Times, titled “Enrique’s Journey.” Nazario explains that after learning an “estimated 700,000 immigrants enter the United States illegally,” she began to investigate this pattern of immigration. Nazario points out that these migrants are unusual because it is the mothers that tend to leave home to find work rather than the fathers. Because of this, it is common for their children to follow years later. Nazario finds Enrique in a town near the Mexican-American border, and her investigation into his journey is documented in Enrique’s Journey.
Nazario anticipates that many of her readers will find it difficult to understand the choice that Lourdes makes. How can a mother leave her children? Lourdes and her two children, Enrique and Belky, live outside of Tegucigalpa, in Honduras. Lourdes works hard, scrubbing laundry and selling tortillas, used clothes, and plantains, but she has never been able to afford to buy her children toys or a cake to celebrate their birthday. Soon, her children will be old enough to go to school, an additional expense that the family cannot afford. However, without an education, Lourdes knows that her children’s future will be more difficult. After catching a glimpse of American cities like New York and Las Vegas on a neighbor’s television, Lourdes decides to leave for America. Her plan is to travel there, make money to send home, and return after a year. Nazario explains how Lourdes overcomes her feelings of guilt by reminding herself that she is leaving for her children. She leaves them on January 29, 1989.
However, little goes according to plan. Belky is raised with Lourdes’ family while Enrique is raised by his father. His father soon leaves Enrique to start another family, and Enrique is left in the care of his paternal grandmother. María Marcos lives in a small shack with four rooms, three of which are without electricity and there is no running water. Before long, Enrique realizes that he is missing his mother. A relative owns a phone, which allows Enrique to hear his mother’s voice once a month, but sometimes Lourdes chooses to save money...
(The entire section is 1975 words.)
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