Several years ago, journalist Sonia Nazario had a conversation with her housekeeper “Carmen” that changed the trajectory of her life as a journalist. Suddenly Nazario found herself catapulted into the story that is now known as the “border children.” Long before the immigrant children carrying Ebola into the United States made headlines in our news media, Nazario had completed the trip that thousands of people make every year in an attempt to get to the United States.
“Enrique’s Journey,” Nazario’s journey is the story of 17-year-old Honduran boy who travels from his hometown in Honduras to Orlando, Florida in search of his mother. The journey began when Enrique was only five-years-old and his mother left him in Honduras while she worked in the United States. Nazario stated that the absence of Enrique’s mother created a sense of loneliness that Enrique could never move past. She stated that the sense of longing and questions drove Enrique to leave his home in Honduras and search for his mother. . . He had one question.
Do you love me?
She explained that the children who came ten years ago are coming for entirely different reasons than the children who are fleeing their native countries today. Nazario cited that the current situation in Central America has created what is now a refugee crisis on the United States-Mexican border. She reported that increased gang violence, kidnappings and threats have forced thousands of children to flee their homes in search of safety.
While speaking at the Chicago Cultural Center this month, Nazario stated that she has made the same journey these children have made from Honduras to the United States on two separate occasions. A journey that she said forced her into therapy following an attempted rape.
Nazario urged attendees that change is possible. She stated that rather than simply addressing the current border crisis there is a need to address the root of the problem by creating a stable economy in the countries these children are fleeing from.
Have you ever had a conversation with someone that served as a catalyst for something greater? Looking back, what was that experience like?