Courtesy of The Moth
The group had to stay silent while traveling through Mexico so they wouldn’t get caught.
Nestor Gomez was only 10 years old when his parents fled Guatemala for the United States. It was 1980 and the civil war in the Central American country was tearing the nation apart. His parents had to make the decision to leave their children behind with family as they worked and saved money in the U.S. They planned to go back to Guatemala to get their children, but the war changed those plans. The violence had increased and they realized it was not safe to go back and live in Guatemala so they decided to bring the children to the U.S. Gomez was 15 years old when his father returned to bring his children to the U.S. They couldn’t wait for visas for the children so the parents only had one option and that was to smuggle the children through Mexico and across the border.
“This was going to be a dangerous undertaking. Not only because at that time I was 15 years old now, but because my middle brother was five years younger than me and my other brother was ten years younger than me. He was just a little baby,” Gomez recalls. “But also because my sister and a friend of hers who was tagging along were both teenagers. As such, they could be victims of sexual assault along the way.”
Gomez’ story is filled with moments of suspense, fear and triumph as the group makes their way to the U.S. An unexpected encounter with Mexican immigration officials and a greedy coyote threaten to sabotage their run for freedom from a grueling civil war. Yet, nothing can stop this group of immigrants from chasing their dreams. The journey tests the children and their father as they discover secrets and hidden plans.
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