PRAISE FOR ENRIQUE'S JOURNEY she refuses to subject her children to the dangerous journey. Minor tells me about his perilous hitchhiking journey. Based on the Los Angeles Times series that won two Pulitzer Prizes, this is a timeless story of families torn apart. When Enrique was five, his mother, too poor to feed her children, left Honduras to work in the United States. She promised she would return quickly, but she. Pre-Lesson Set Up: Students should read the Prologue in Enrique's Journey for the first The purpose of this lesson is to set Enrique's Journey in context.

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Please click on the PDF link below to download the Teacher's Guide. For this reason, Enrique's Journey is particularly appropriate for use in language arts and . The journey is hard for the Mexicans but harder still for Enrique and the others from Central America. They must make an illegal and dangerous trek up the. In this astonishing true story, award-winning journalist Sonia Nazario recounts the unforgettable odyssey of a Honduran boy who braves unimaginable hardship .

Because he lives across town, he is not often lucky enough to be at Maria Edelmira's house when his mother phones. When he is, their talk is clipped and anxious. Quietly, however, one of these conversations plants the seed of an idea. Unwittingly, Lourdes sows it herself. She avoids an answer. Instead, she promises to send for him very soon.

It had never occurred to him: If she will not come home, then maybe he can go to her. Neither he nor his mother realizes it, but this kernel of an idea will take root. From now on, whenever Enrique speaks to her, he ends by saying, "I want to be with you. How can she justify leaving her children if she returns empty-handed? Four blocks from her mother's place is a white house with purple trim. It takes up half a block behind black iron gates. The house belongs to a woman whose children went to Washington, D.

Lourdes cannot afford such a house for her mother, much less herself. But she develops a plan. She will become a resident and bring her children to the United States legally. Three times, she hires storefront immigration counselors who promise help. A woman in Long Beach, whose house she cleans, agrees to sponsor her residency. But the counselors never deliver. Christmas arrives, and he waits by the door.

She does not come. Every year, she promises. Each year, he is disappointed.

Confusion finally grows into anger. I miss her," he tells his sister. I see so many children with mothers. I want that. He tells her that he doesn't think she is coming back. To himself, he says, "It's all one big lie. The coyotes, as they are called, are often alcoholics or drug addicts. Sometimes they abandon their charges. There are too many gangs, drugs and crimes. In any event, she has not saved enough. Enrique despairs. He will simply have to do it himself.

He will go find her. He will ride the trains. Don't even joke about it, she says. It is too dangerous. Be patient. He refuses to make his Mother's Day card at school. He begins hitting other kids. He lifts the teacher's skirt. He stands on top of the teacher's desk and bellows, "Who is Enrique?

Three times, he is suspended. Twice he repeats a grade. But Enrique never abandons his promise to study.

Unlike half the children from his neighborhood, he completes elementary school. There is a small ceremony. A teacher hugs him and mutters, "Thank God, Enrique's out of here. But nobody from his mother's family comes to the graduation. Now he is 14, a teenager. He spends more time on the streets of Carrizal, which is quickly becoming one of Tegucigalpa's toughest neighborhoods.

His grandmother tells him to come home early. But he plays soccer until midnight. He refuses to sell spices. It is embarrassing when girls see him peddle fruit cups or when they hear someone call him "the tamale man. She is not his mother, he tells her, and she has no right to tell him what to do.

He stays out all night. His grandmother waits up for him, crying. I am going to send you away. No one loves me. She only wants him to work and to be honorable, so that he can hold his head up high.

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He replies that he will do what he wants. Enrique has become her youngest child. If you do, all this is yours. But her own children say Enrique has to go: She is 70, and he will bury her, all right, by sending her to the grave.

Sadly, she writes to Lourdes: You must find him another home.

To Enrique, it is another rejection. First his mother, then his father and now his grandmother. Lourdes arranges for a brother, Marco Antonio Zablah, to take him in. Her gifts arrive steadily. She is proud that her money pays Belky's tuition at a private high school and eventually a college, to study accounting.

Kids from poor neighborhoods almost never go to college. Money from Lourdes helps Enrique too, and he realizes it. If she were here, he knows where he might well be: scavenging in the trash dump across town.

Lourdes knows it too; as a girl, she herself worked the dump. Enrique knows children as young as 6 or 7 whose single mothers have stayed at home and who have had to root through the waste in order to eat. Truck after truck rumbles onto the hilltop. Dozens of adults and children fight for position. Each truck dumps its load.

Feverishly, the scavengers reach up into the sliding ooze to pluck out bits of plastic, wood and tin. The trash squishes beneath their feet, moistened by loads from hospitals, full of blood and placentas.

Occasionally a child, with hands blackened by garbage, picks up a piece of stale bread and eats it. As the youngsters sort through the stinking stew, thousands of sleek, black buzzards soar in a dark, swirling cloud. A year after Enrique goes to live with his uncle, Lourdes calls--this time from North Carolina. Here people are less hostile. Work is plentiful. She has met someone, a house painter from Honduras, and they are moving in together. Enrique misses her enormously. But Uncle Marco and his girlfriend treat him well.

Marco is a money changer on the Honduran border, and his family, including a son, lives in a five-bedroom house in a middle-class neighborhood of Tegucigalpa. Uncle Marco gives Enrique a daily allowance, downloads him clothes and sends him to a private military school.

Enrique runs errands for his uncle, washes his five cars, follows him everywhere. His uncle pays as much attention to him as he does his own son, if not more. Although he is in his teens, Enrique is small, just shy of 5 feet, even when he straightens up from a slight stoop. He has a big smile and perfect teeth. His uncle trusts him, even to make bank deposits.

He tells Enrique, "I want you to work with me forever. The guard has a son 23 years old, and the slaying impels the young man to go to the United States. He comes back before crossing the Rio Grande and tells Enrique about riding on trains, leaping off rolling freight cars and dodging la migra, Mexican immigration agents.

Because of the security guard's murder, Marco swears that he will never change money again. A few months later, though, he gets a call. Uncle Marco promises that this will be the last time. Enrique wants to go with him. Advertisement But his uncle says he is too young. He takes one of his own brothers instead. Robbers riddle their car with bullets.

Enrique's uncles careen off the road. The thieves shoot Uncle Marco three times in the chest and once in the leg. They shoot his brother in the face. Both die.

Enrique's Journey

Now Uncle Marco is gone. Instead, she uses it to help pay for her brothers' funerals. Within days, Uncle Marco's girlfriend sells Enrique's television, stereo and Nintendo game--all gifts from Marco. Without telling him why, she says, "I don't want you here anymore. This had been his first home, the small stucco house where he and Lourdes lived until Lourdes stepped off the front porch and left.

His second home was the wooden shack where he and his father lived with his father's mother, until his father found a new wife and left. His third home was the comfortable house where he lived with his Uncle Marco. Now he is back where he began. Seven people live here already: his grandmother, Agueda Amalia Valladares; two divorced aunts; and four young cousins. They are poor. Nonetheless, she takes him in. She and the others are consumed by the slayings of the two uncles; they pay little attention to Enrique.

He grows quiet, introverted. He does not return to school. At first, he shares the front bedroom with an aunt, Mirian Liliana Aguilera, One day she awakens at 2 a.

Enrique is sobbing quietly in his bed, cradling a picture of Uncle Marco in his arms. Enrique cries off and on for six months. His uncle loved him; without his uncle, he is lost. Grandmother Agueda sours quickly on Enrique. She grows angry when he comes home late, knocking on her door, rousing the household.

About a month later, Aunt Mirian wakes up again in the middle of the night. This time she smells acetone and hears the rustle of plastic. Through the dimness, she sees Enrique in his bed, puffing on a bag.

He is sniffing glue. Enrique is banished to a tiny stone building seven feet behind the house but a world away. It was once a cook shack, where his grandmother prepared food on an open fire. Its walls and ceiling are charred black. It has no electricity. The wooden door pries only partway open, and the single window has no glass, just bars. A few feet beyond is his privy--a hole with a wooden shanty over it. The stone hut becomes his home. Now Enrique can do whatever he wants. If he is out all night, no one cares.

But to him, it feels like another rejection. Some MS have been U. Now they are active throughout much of Central America and Mexico. Here in El Infiernito, they carry chimbas, guns fashioned from plumbing pipes, and they drink charamila, diluted rubbing alcohol.

They ride the buses, robbing passengers. It is dangerous. On one occasion, Jose is threatened by a man who wraps a chain around his neck. The boys never linger. They take their joints partway up a hill to a billiard hall, where they sit outside smoking and listening to the music that drifts through the open doors.

Enrique's Journey | Chapter One: The Boy Left Behind

With them are two other friends. Both have tried to ride freight trains to El Norte. One is known as El Gato, the cat. He talks about migra agents shooting over his head and how easy it is to be robbed by bandits. In Enrique's marijuana haze, train-riding sounds like an adventure. He and Jose resolve to try it soon. Some nights, at 10 or so, they climb a steep, winding path to the top of another hill. Hidden beside a wall scrawled with graffiti, they inhale glue late into the night.

One day, Enrique's girlfriend, Maria Isabel Caria Duron, 17, turns a street corner and bumps into him. She is overwhelmed. He smells like an open can of paint. He tries to hide his habit. He dabs a bit of glue into a plastic bag and stuffs it into a pocket. Alone, he opens the end over his mouth and inhales, pressing the bottom of the bag toward his face, pushing the fumes into his lungs.

Belky notices cloudy yellow fingerprints on Maria Isabel's jeans: glue, a remnant of Enrique's embrace. Maria Isabel sees him change.

His mouth is sweaty and sticky. He is jumpy and nervous. His eyes grow red. Sometimes they are glassy, half-closed. Other times he looks drunk. If she asks a question, the response is delayed. His temper is quick. On a high, he grows quiet, sleepy and distant. When he comes down, he becomes hysterical and insulting. Drug addict, one of his aunts calls him.

Sometimes he hallucinates that someone is chasing him. He imagines gnomes and fixates on ants. He sees a cartoon-like Winnie the Pooh soaring in front of him. He walks, but he cannot feel the ground.

Sometimes his legs will not respond. Houses move. Occasionally, the floor falls. For two particularly bad weeks, he doesn't recognize family members. His hands tremble. He coughs black phlegm.

All he wants is his mother. One Sunday, he and his friend Jose put train-riding to the test. They leave for El Norte.

At first, no one notices. They take buses across Guatemala to the Mexican border. They slip past the guard and make their way 12 miles into Mexico to Tapachula. There they approach a freight train near the depot. But before they can reach the tracks, police stop them. The officers rob them, the boys say later, but then let them go--Jose first, Enrique afterward. They find each other and another train.

Now, for the first time, Enrique clambers aboard. The train crawls out of the Tapachula station.

From here on, he thinks, nothing bad can happen. They know nothing about riding the rails. Jose is terrified.

Enrique, who is braver, jumps from car to car on the slow-moving train. He slips and falls--away from the tracks, luckily--and lands on a backpack padded with a shirt and an extra pair of pants. Advertisement He scrambles aboard again.

Enrique's Journey

But their odyssey comes to a humiliating halt. Near Tierra Blanca, a small town in Veracruz state, authorities snatch them from the top of a freight car. The officers take them to a cell filled with MS gangsters, then deport them. Enrique is bruised and limping, and he misses Maria Isabel. They find coconuts to sell for bus fare and go home.

He has only 1, lempiras. He promises the rest by midweek, but cannot keep his word. The following weekend, he encounters the dealer on the street.

The supplier accuses Enrique of lying and threatens to kill him. Enrique pleads with him. If Enrique doesn't pay up, the dealer vows, he will kill Enrique's sister. The dealer mistakenly thinks that Enrique's cousin, Tania Ninoska Turcios, 18, is his sister. Both girls are finishing high school, and most of the family is away at a Nicaraguan hotel celebrating their graduation. He hesitates.

How can he do this to his own family? Three times, he walks up to the door, opens it, closes it and leaves. Each time, he takes another deep hit of glue. Finally, he enters the house, picks open the lock to a bedroom door, then jimmies the back of his aunt's armoire with a knife. The scars on his head and body bear testament to what he has endured on this journey.

When he looks into the window, he is ashamed by what he sees, and acknowledges that he is now marked by violence. However, he does not give up, but rather accepts this as another obstacle that he must overcome in order to succeed. His hope and determination are stronger than the troubles, and in confronting his own weakness but persisting nevertheless, he reveals that quality that ultimately facilitates his arrival in the U.

As the author states, a number of Americans believe that Central American and Mexican immigrants are taking jobs away from native-born citizens, are over-using government aid, and are bringing crime into the country. Some Mexicans, in turn, feel similarly about the Central Americans in their country.

And yet this man's opinion touches on an unsettling hypocrisy that suggests a wider truth. It is within our human nature to want to protect what is ours. Most societies are reluctant to share their resources, and yet we usually recognize a duty to help our fellow man. Whereas an individual might acknowledge a flaw in his society's policy, the society as a whole cannot be so easily led to practice such idealism.

Their priests and bishops encourage them to feed and clothe the migrants. They are reminded that Jesus himself was once a migrant, moving from Israel to Egypt. The migrants, in turn, view Veracruz as a land of hope and faith. Having passed through "the beast" of Chiapas, migrants are welcomed by the hope and kindness of Veracruz. Because this one part of Mexico is willing to show regular charity, many migrants are given the strength to continue that that might otherwise lose.

This statement suggests that empathy can exist if we are willing to consider the migrants as individuals and not just faceless parts of a social problem.

Enrique hears them as well. Certainly, they are representative of the final great obstacle migrants face - crossing the border into the U. However, the horizon in their sight is a symbol of hope, and this implicit warning functions in the same way. Although the Border Patrol agents offer constant reminder of their presence, there is also a tantalizing hope that if a migrant can avoid the Border Patrol, he or she can cross into the promised land and end this journey.

They can change their country from Mexico to the U. People are leaving behind the most important value: family unity. The separation between mother and child creates irreparable emotional damage that impacts not only those involved but also the community in which they interact. Nazario explains how some children grow into restless adults, who are never able to forgive their parent s for leaving them. Others, like Enrique, try to overlook the past and move toward a brighter future; however, their lives are often marked by addiction or other coping methods.

The true irony is the fact that the mothers originally left their country and children to help keep their family intact.Nation Now Democrats defend Rep. His father gives him enough for a soda and wishes him luck. But her own children say Enrique has to go: She is 70, and he will bury her, all right, by sending her to the grave. Enrique wants to go with him. Chapter Two: She and the others are consumed by the slayings of the two uncles; they pay little attention to Enrique.

Enrique knows children as young as 6 or 7 whose single mothers have stayed at home and who have had to root through the waste in order to eat.