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Identity, culture, and migration

Chapin: I Know I Have A Dream There...

I come from Guatemala and I’m heading to New York. Everything that I’m going through right now is like an adventure. I’m not getting too worried about anything. I’m in it as an adventurer. I’m experiencing different countries, going to different states in Mexico, and seeing different places. I don’t see it as something to be scared of, but as an adventure. I left my country almost a month ago. And look, I’m okay, nobody has robbed me, I haven’t been hurt, and I’m here at the border now.

Armando & Mariana: A Safe Place For The Migrants

My work starts at 8 in the morning. I sweep the floor, and sweep the sidewalk in front, so that this place is clean and with dignity, so that the migrants can come and be happy here when they enter the Comedor. I’m the one who does the maintenance, the painting, I clean the toilets, I fix the bathrooms. I like my job. All I want is safety for the migrants here. Here I’m guarding the door. This is my job. It feels really good, I’m in charge of the door to keep this a safe place for the migrants. Saying no to somebody who is not a migrant, denying them food, feels really bad.

Catracho: Waiting To Cross

I’m here waiting to cross to the other side just for a better future for myself. I’m not married or anything, but maybe one day I will. So I want to find a good job and something stable so that I can give something better for my family.


Aquí estoy esperando cruzar al otro lado, sólo por un futuro mejor para mi. No soy casado ni nada, pero tal vez un día sí me case, así que quiero encontrar un buen trabajo, algo estable, para que le pueda dar algo a mi familia.

Chavalo: A Safe Place

This is the dorm where I slept. This is my home today. I can spend the night here and I can be safe. We are in a safe place, we’re not sleeping out on the street or by the railroad. It is very difficult to be out on the street and on your own. Here at least you are with others and you are safe.

Chiapas: We Won't See Each Other Again

If I see this picture again in 5 years I would say:

“Where is this guy? Did he make it to the US? Is he back in his country?” We are here together today, but as soon as we take off in our different ways we won’t see each other again. Maybe they’ll make it through, but we’ll never be together again. That’s why I took a picture with all of them. In this picture we have everybody together the way we are today.


Si yo veo esta foto otra vez en unos 5 años podría decir:

Chavalo: We Met On The Road

Well, we’re all Hondurans, we all met on the road so we became friends because we come from the same place. Who would have thought that we would be meeting all these people from Honduras? When you leave there, you leave thinking that you are going North, but you don’t know who you are going to
meet on the road, and you meet all these others from Guatemala, from Honduras, from Mexico…

Chiapas: Pivoting Point

Here [at the border] l I’m right in the pivoting point. I’m neither there nor here. My task is to cross. I don’t want to go back home in defeat. So that’s the picture I took there. It will remind me of being here in Nogales.


Aquí en la frontera estoy justo en el vértice. No estoy ni aquí ni allá. Mi tarea es cruzar, no quiero irme de vuelta a casa en la derrota. Así que ésa es la foto que tomé allí. Me hará recordar de cuando estaba aquí en Nogales.

Catracho: I'm Still Here

There I am alone. My friends already crossed over and they are gone, they would probably feel bad because they are on the other side and I’m still here at the border.


Ahí estoy yo solo. Mis amigos ya cruzaron y se fueron, tal vez se sentirían mal porque están al otro lado y yo estoy todavía aquí en la frontera.

Chino: I'm Really Happy Now

How do you feel about seeing yourself here in this picture?

Oh I am very happy. I’m happy that I’m in good health. The pain in my foot is going away and I’ll be able to start moving. I’m very happy that I was able to talk to my family and they are going to help me, they are sending me the help that I need so that I can cross, so things are good. So I am really happy now.


¿Cómo te sientes de verte en esta foto?

Lupe: I Don't Know If I Can Stay Here

So what are you going to do now?

I don’t know. If I stay here, well, that would be better, but it would be turning my back on my kids. And I cannot do that, because they’re my life. But if I try to go back and they catch me and they keep me in detention for a year, well, I don’t want that either, because then I won’t be able to be with my kids either. So I don’t know, I don’t know what I’m going to do.

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