Janet Jarman Website Location Mexico City, Mexico Biography Contact us Portfolio Portrait Reportage Travel Video Featured Stories Mexico's Dark War Born In Chiapas Coffee Crisis Marisol and The American Dream Bystanders and patients in the Tepic General Hospital look perplexed as rescue workers deliver Luis Osvaldo to the hospital’s overcrowded emergency room. Doctors’ initially tried to discern if the painter was inebriated when he fell off his ladder into a bucket of blue paint, but his colleague arrived later to report how the men were asphyxiated by the paint while working in a small area. A transgender actress prepares backstage before performing in the early morning at Club Histeria, a large club that caters to Mexico City's LGBT community. In 2009, Mexico City's government legalized same sex marriage, proudly claiming that the metropolis is the most liberal city in Latin America. Enriqueta Romero, 70, better known as Doña Queta, accepts a request from worshippers to personally deliver their offering of 200 pesos (USD 12.50) to her beloved Santa Muerte (Saint Death) figure, who stands protected behind thick (green tinted) bullet proof glass, at the shrine Romero created in 2001, in Mexico City’s Tepito barrio. (Photo made on 26/09/15 - Mexico City, Mexico). A devotee blows cigar smoke to symbolically “cleanse” figures of the Santa Muerte (L) and Jesus Malverde (R), a Mexican folk hero associated with the drug trade. The devotee is among thousands of attendees at a monthly Rosary service at one of the most famous Santa Muerte shrines in Mexico, located in Tepito, one of Mexico City’s most dangerous neighborhoods. (Photo made on 01/10/15 - Mexico City, Mexico). Holding onto Santa Muerte (Saint Death) statuea in an expression of devotion, worshippers listen and pray during a midnight Rosary service attended by over a thousand devotees one of the most famous Santa Muerte shrines, started in 2001 by Enriqueta Romero in Mexico City’s Tepito barrio. (Photo made on 01/11/15 - Mexico City, Mexico). A worker at Vegpacker de Mexico returns to his village on a company bus after harvesting vegetables al day. California producer Steve Scaroni started Vegpacker when he moved some of his company’s operations to Mexico in 2006. Management runs the Mexico farms in the same way it does in the US, using modern technology and emphasizing strict food safety measures. Most of the produce is exported to the U.S. Novelist Mario Bellatin surrounds himself with his dogs, at his Mexico City office in August 2009. Bellatin is a Mexican writer who has had a tremendous amount of buzz in the Spanish-speaking world in recent years. In a score of novellas written since 1985 he has not only toyed with the expectations of readers and critics but also bent language, plot and structure to suit his own mysterious purposes, in ways often as unsettling as they are baffling. Mihaly Basci, 84, visits his son's home in Nyritelek, Hungary. Basci is a Roma Gypsy. Historical patterns of prejudice and discrimination have long isolated Roma communities. The socio-economic conditions of the Roma in Hungary are among the worst conditions facing any ethnic group in Europe. Girls take part in a parade around the city of Izamal marking Mexico's Day of the Revolution. City officials have been lobbying for nearly a decade to have Izamal inscribed as a Unesco World Heritaqe site. They hope the inscription will help bring investment for preservation of the town's many colonial structures and Mayan ruins and also foster important economic development. Fishermen bring in their catch in Chocohuital, Chiapas, a tiny community that made world news in 2014 when one of the town's residents, Jose Salvador Alvarenga, appeared in the Marshall Islands, alive, after surviving 13 months at sea. He departed from Chocohuital in November 2012 with a friend for a one-day expedition to catch sharks. They were blown off-course by northerly winds, caught in a storm, and then lost use of their engines. An outing in an ultralight plane provides spectacular closeup views of the stunning beaches near Todos Santos in Baja California Sur, Mexico. Workers excavate inside one of 24 shafts (ranging from 26 to 150 meters deep), that form part of the Tunél Emisor Oriente (TEO), one of Mexico's most dramatic water infrastructure projects in 30 years. The shafts (lumbreras) are designed to provide ventilation and to allow the introduction of machinery during and after the project's completion. The seven meter wide, 62 kilometer tunnel was constructed to duplicate drainage capacity in the Valley of Mexico and prevent serious floods that occur throughout the Mexico City Metropolitan Zone (MCMZ). A dead horse floats with sewage down a primary canal in the Mezquital Valley, Hidalgo, where farmers have used Mexico City’s raw sewage to irrigate crops for over a century. At various points along the 60-kilometer trajectory people further pollute the filthy waters by tossing solid waste and even dead animals into the canals that carry water to farmers’ fields. Sabino Guerrero Guerrero, 15, glances down at the Endho Dam Reservoir, next to which he and his family live. Guerrero is angry. He is among many residents near the reservoir who suffer from skin rashes and respiratory difficulty from breathing noxious gases produced by the raw sewage. The lake attracted tourists and provided residents with abundant fish up until 1973, when authorities converted it into a holding tank for Mexico City’s sewage en route to farms in Hidalgo. Built up detergents in wastewater form immense mounds of foam as Mexico City’s black water (sewage) flows through a small irrigation canal in Mezquital Valley, where farmers use the untreated wastewater to irrigate crops. Such sites are common in the valley and illustrate the high levels of contamination in the region. With his only possessions, a small leather wallet and a photo album, Mariano Lopez, 53, suffers a bout of pain on the floor of his home, near Zinacantan, an indigenous community in the highlands of Chiapas, Mexico. Lopez is among thousands of indigenous Maya in Chiapas with a chronic disease and no resources to pay for hospital care. He survived by begging from tourists in nearby San Cristobal de las Casas. In December 2012, his illness worsened, and he could no longer eat or walk. Sergio Castro, known to many as “Don Sergio” took him under his care. With only limited resources at his disposal, Castro knew he could not cure Lopez, but he eased his pain and gave him dignity. A boy stands in the courtyard of his home in the small Maya community of Santa Cruz Obispo, in Mexico’s Chiapas state. Sergio Castro, known by most as “Don Sergio” built a water system in this community with help from a U.S. foundation. In 1966, Castro began working in Chiapas as an agronomist and veterinarian. After witnessing alarming conditions in many isolated villages, he tried to help by building schools and potable water systems. He also taught himself to treat complicated wounds, and filled a void in the public healthcare system. A farmhand in Mexico’s Chiapas state uses a stick to make holes for corn seed planting. This age-old method is still a common way to put to use rocky and almost barren fields where machines or oxen can’t till the land. With the NAFTA-imposed disappearance of guaranteed prices and subsidies for their crops, most of the farmers in this region can barely make ends meet. Many try to find work in other parts of Mexico or the U.S. to feed their families. Bolivar Elizondo, foreground, with his family on his 25-acre farm in the mountains near Bijagua, Costa Rica, in Aug. 2005, where he raises chickens, pigs, pineapples and a dozen cows. Elizondo's biggest worry these days is a free trade agreement with the United States. He opposes a trade pact. Florentina Aguilar, 74 (L) and Malania García, 49, graze sheep in Hidalgo’s primary irrigation district. Throughout the region livestock survive predominantly on alfalfa, all of which is grown using black water, or untreated sewage. Some farmers have witnessed pregnant animals aborting after being exposed to the undiluted sewage that arrives during the dry season. Human consumption of livestock exposed to black water through fodder carries potential risk, though few studies have been undertaken to measure health effects. A worker at an industrial farm in Mexico’s Sinaloa state takes his tomatoes to the central counting station. This farm is one of the ‘winners’ of NAFTA, since the owners quickly forged alliances with U.S. customers and were able to open a vast new market for their products. Most of the tomatoes picked by this worker end up being eaten by U.S. consumers. Workers harvest lettuce in Mexico’s Guanajuato state for Vegpacker Mexico, and affiliate of a California based corporation that moved some of its operations to Mexico in 2006 due to uncertain availability of water and labor in the U.S. Management runs its Mexico farms in the same way as those in the U.S, using modern technology and emphasizing a food safety mindset amongst its workforce. Most of the produce is exported to the U.S. and when deadlines are tight works goes on into the night. Members of a private Mexican family's professional security team travel behind their boss's car, poised for potential action. As a result of Mexico's persistent violence, many of the country's elites choose to take protection into their own hands, by hiring private security teams and bodyguards. A professional security team winds through narrow streets at night in Mexico, following their boss, José, in his Ferrari, to make sure no incident occurs. The bodyguards maintain constant communication and close proximity to their "principal" at all times. As a result of Mexico's persistent violence, many of the country's elites choose to take protection into their own hands, by hiring private security forces. Jose's brother's wife greets guests at her civil wedding, minutes after becoming officially married. The event took place at a luxurious private setting. Bodyguards from various elite families flanked the garden's perimeter. Only a few guards stood closer in, allowing the family to enjoy more privacy during their intimate family event. José's daughter prepares to attend her "princess" themed birthday party while one of her personal security guards stands on alert at the beauty salon. The guard stayed outside at first but moved inside after seeing a suspicious person enter the outdoor restaurant next door. Each family member has security accompanying them at all times outside the home, since they are most vulnerable to kidnappers while out in public. Police secure a crime scene after an ambush on the outskirts of Ciudad Juárez left one suspected drug trafficker dead and another severely wounded. As the latter was being transported to the hospital, his enemies caught up with the ambulance and finished him off. a volunteer citizen police member holds up a bone fragment found during a dig for human remains on the outskirts of Iguala, Mexico. Remains found in nearly a dozen secret burial sites near Iguala are being tested as part of a hunt for 43 students who disappeared in September, 2014, an episode that has only underscored the severity of Mexico’s organized crime crisis. Wearing his signature black sombrero, Dr. José Manuel Mireles gives a motivational speech to residents in Tancitaro, days after the town, located in the mountains of Mexico's Michoacan state, liberated itself from the oppressive drug cartel that calls itself the Knights Templars. Mireles leads a movement to unify and assist self defense vigilantes to protect themselves against the cartel and drive all criminals out of their communities. Each day, he visits liberated towns like Tancitaro and motivates others to stand up to the cartel. CREDIT - Janet Jarman for The Wall Street Journal MICHOACAN Municipal police savor night training exercises taught by Israeli foreign security experts. They said it was the first type of training like this (live fire inside houses) they had ever experienced. Auto defense group members in Mexico's Michoacan state stop vehicles on an isolated mountain road at high noon, while their comrades search nearby wooded areas, in an effort to secure the area before taking over another village in the state's Tierra Caliente zone. Since they became organized under the leadership of Dr. José Manuel Mireles last February, auto defense groups have seized control of nearly 70 villages and hamlets, their end goal being to drive organized crime groups out of the state. Auto defense groups are proliferating throughout Mexico. Armed with poles, machetes, and whatever items that can be used as weapons, young community police force members stand guard at a checkpoint near Tancitaro, a town high in the mountains of Mexico's Michoacan state, where thousands of local residents banded together recently to rid their town of members of a threatening drug cartel that calls itself the Knights Templars. As dusk falls, armed young men who are members of auto defense groups in Mexico's Michoacan state operate checkpoints along an isolated part of the state's Tierra Caliente zone, where the groups have recently taken over numerous small villages in their fight to push out the criminals which they claim have threatened their families and their livelihoods for more than a decade. Since they became organized under the leadership of Dr. José Manuel Mireles last February, auto defense groups have seized control of nearly 70 villages and hamlets, their end goal being to drive organized crime groups out of the state. Auto defense groups are proliferating throughout Mexico. A suspected Knights Templar member lies dead after a firefight on the outskirts of Parácuaro, a town located in the Tierra Caliente region of Michoacán. The town was controlled by the Knights Templar organized crime cartel. In January, 2014, self defense forces took control of Parácuaro, in their march towards Apatzingan, the alleged headquarter of the Knights Templar. The federal government, afraid of the situation getting out of control, stepped in when the self defense forces reached the outskirts of Apatzingán. An uneasy truce was called between the army and the vigilantes. Members of Mexican self defense forces man a barricade outside Parácuaro, a town located in the Tierra Caliente region of Michoacán. The town was controlled by the Knights Templar organized crime cartel until self defense forces ousted them and took control of the town in January, 2014, in their march towards Apatzingan, the alleged headquarter of the Knights Templar. The federal government, afraid of the situation getting out of control, stepped in when the self-defense forces reached the outskirts of Apatzingán. An uneasy truce was called between the army and the vigilantes. A young boy marvels at weapons carried by self defense force members who came to give a motivational speech in the town of Pareo, Michoacan, where residents last year banded together to throw out members of a drug cartel that calls itself the Knights Templar. Self defense groups seized control of dozens of towns in Michoacan before reaching an uneasy truce with the government to become part of the state's rural police. Similar self defense groups are proliferating throughout Mexico. Maria José Pérez , 4, gazes curiously from the roadside, while police officers prepare to inspect a liquor store for suspicious activity. Jalapa’s police force was nearly nonexistent until a new mayor started to build a police force from scratch in 2011. Residents felt relieved but sometimes perplexed when new trucks filled with police would pass through their rural villages. In a course taught by two freelance Israeli security experts, Jalapa police officers and recruits learn how to storm a bus during hostage rescue training exercise. Whereas bus hijacking is not the most likely situation they may encounter near Jalapa, kidnapping does occur. Throughout the state, organized crime has proliferated. Wealthy agricultural producers and cattle ranchers are prominent targets. Traditional midwife María Lopez Gonzalez, otherwise known as “Doña Mari, massages the abdomen of her patient Rosita Gonzalez Lopez, 22. Doña Mari says she can adjust the fetus so that the head will be in the correct position for the birth. If she feels that something is wrong during the pregnancy she takes her patients to a nearby government health clinic because she does not want to be blamed for any accidents. Rosita has never been to a hospital in her life, and for this birth (her third child), she asked Doña Mari to be her midwife. A young girl watches while traditional midwife María López Gonzalez, otherwise known as “Doña Mari, massages the abdomen of the girl’s pregnant mother. Many traditional midwives learned their trade by watching their mothers give and receive treatment during pregnancies. Doña Mari says she can adjust the fetus so that the head will be in the correct position for the birth. If she feels that something is wrong during the pregnancy, she takes her patients to a nearby small government health clinic for assessment. Children play in the road in front of their house in a small community in the Highlands of Chiapas, Mexico. They are relatives of traditional midwife María López Gonzalez (not pictured), also known in her community as Doña Mari. López separated from her husband a few years ago and now makes a living by growing corn, raising chickens and sheep, and serving as a traditional midwife. Chickens gather near the kitchen of Maria Morales López’s house in an isolated community one hour from Oxchuc, Chiapas. Maria, 58, has been a midwife for 40 years and claims to have attended to nearly 1,000 births. She has never received any medical training but says she has never lost a patient. She has seen a number of miscarriages though. Whenever she gets worried, she personally takes her patient to the hospital for a check-up. In her opinion, her patients dislike hospitals, since they fear unnecessary operations or not being respected. Morales wishes that doctors and midwives could work together better. Family members convene for a meal, inside the home of traditional midwife Maria Morales, 58, while her patient, Juana Gomez rests in an adjacent dwelling before giving birth. Olga Lidia López (M) comforts Juana Gomez Santis (seated) minutes after she gave birth, while the young girl’s mother, Manuela Gomez Santis (L), cleans up the placenta, in the home of traditional midwife Maria Morales López, 58, who lives in an isolated community near Oxchuc, in Chiapas, Mexico. Morales has been a midwife for 40 years and claims to have attended nearly 1,000 births. Most indigenous women in the remote highlands of Chiapas still prefer to give birth at home with a midwife. Morales believes that patients don’t like going to the hospital since they fear unnecessary operations or not being respected. Morales wishes that doctors and midwives could work together better. Manuela Gomez Santis cradles her newborn grandchild inside a Temazcal bath, similar to a sweat lodge, in a small community near Oxchuc, Chiapas. It is common practice in this region for new mothers to cleanse with their newborn babies daily inside the bath for 10 days after giving birth. Less than an hour earlier, her daughter, Juana Gomez Santis (also inside), had given birth to the baby with the assistance of traditional midwife Maria Morales López. In the evening, Antonia López Santis gives birth inside her home with the assistance of traditional midwife Sebastiana Girón Pérez. Accompanied by her mother and her husband, López had waited all day inside a local health clinic to have her baby. They eventually became frustrated by the lack of progress and decided to return home to give birth. After rushing into the kitchen with a newborn and the placenta, traditional midwife Sebastiana Girón Pérez prepares to clean the baby with lukewarm water. A nurse checks a baby with high fever in the public clinic in Tenejapa, Chiapas. The area was long known for its high maternal mortality rates but over the past decade health authorities, together with international NGO’s, have been able to reduce these rates. Since most health professionals do not speak the local indigenous dialects, communication can be a problem. If patients need emergency treatment, they must travel another two hours by road to reach San Cristobal. (Photo made on 23/10/14 – Tenejapa, Chiapas, Mexico) The body of a stillborn baby lies delicately wrapped up in a hospital emergency room, ready to be handed over to its family. Doctors and nurses in the hospital are frequently confronted with such cases and complain that most of these tragedies could be prevented if women would come to hospitals earlier, before they are in a grave state. Often however, women who live in remote areas are unable to reach a hospital in time due to limited resources, lack of emergency infrastructure or family pressures. Fear of discrimination by doctors also discourages women from seeking medical help. A candle burns in the early morning on a tiny gravesite in Romerillo, a celebrated cemetery in San Juan Chamula, Chiapas. Researchers estimate that for every 100,000 women who give birth in Chiapas, 55 or more die, a rate significantly higher than that in the rest of Mexico. Indigenous women listen to instructors during a training session for traditional midwives in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas. The red liquid on the floor was left after doctors performed a skit to highlight different emergency situations during pregnancy and childbirth, in particular the dangers of hemorrhaging, which is a primary cause for maternal mortality worldwide. (Photo made on 10/09/14 – San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico) Sergio Castro (L) makes a house call to a terminally ill resident in San Cristobal de Las Casas in Mexico’s Chiapas state. The patient and his family are among many who trust Castro (known as “Don Sergio”) more than they do public hospitals. Castro previously treated predominantly burn victims from rural Mayan communities, but his reputation followed him to the city where families seek him out to treat any type of wound, including bedsores and diabetes ulcers. Traditional midwives eagerly accept the personal phone numbers of medical doctors in the region during a state sponsored training session in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas. They were urged to call these doctors should they have doubts about how to handle emergency situations. Healthcare authorities of the state put on sporadic sessions like this one in order to try and form a relationship with the traditional midwives, who still attend to most childbirths in the local communities. Over 300 midwives were transported from highland communities to attend the event. After a long day of picking coffee, Juan Torres, 60, rests on the wooden planks where he sleeps, inside a room he shares with other workers on a coffee estate near Matagalpa, Nicaragua. The farm employs mostly migrant workers who live on the farm during the coffee harvest. Reina Isabel Guido leads her group to one of the highest points of Finca La Revancha (1,000m) in the early morning. La Revancha became the first Fair Trade certified coffee estate in Central America in November 2013. The estate's owners have enforced a host of standards that not only enhance coffee quality but also benefit their 96 permanent and 500 temporary workers throughout the year. Chiapas, Mexico (Photo © Janet Jarman 2013) - A family from Colombo, Guatemala, sorts through hundreds of coffee cherries separating the unripe green cherries that will undergo different processing into lower quality coffee. The mother (right) complained about abuses on the farm where they previously worked. She said the farm’s supervisor refused to provide medical assistance when one of her children fell gravely ill and refused to pay them for the labor they provided. Afraid of having to return to Guatemala, they escaped one night walking until they found work with better conditions on this large farm managed by a fellow Guatemalan. Aida Yanira Chavez, 3, plays around a coffee plant while her parents (mother pictured in background) pick coffee. Most Guatemalan coffee pickers working in Chiapas are either lone men or parents with young children who have no choice but to bring them along for the three-month harvesting season. After a long and arduous day of picking coffee cherries, two men make their way across a creek and through dense vegetation to a main camp, where workers deliver their coffee harvests at the end of each day to be measured and recorded. In Chiapas, Mexico, Guatemalan coffee picker Rosa Diaz works her way around coffee leaves infected with a plague called roya (leaf rust/rouille orangée). Now widespread in Central American and Mexican coffee growing regions, the plague, which experts say is caused largely by climate change, is a great source of concern for producers and coffee workers, as it will likely severely affect harvest yields in the coming seasons. A young man carries a heavy sack weighing approximately 60kg, filled with the coffee cherries he picked in one day, working on a coffee estate in Chiapas, Mexico. Many men leave their families in Guatemala to work as migrant laborers during the coffee harvest in Mexico, where they can have guaranteed work for several months and earn more than they can back home. A company truck winds through the vast Zaragoza coffee estate in Nicaragua, carrying workers with their daily coffee harvest. The owner worked for many years in the United States for large agricultural corporations before returning home to Nicaragua to run this family estate that employs over 600 workers during the harvest season. Chiapas, Mexico - A group of Guatemalan coffee pickers gather around their daily coffee harvest to sort through thousands of cherries, separating the unripe green cherries which will undergo different processing into lower quality coffee. The once-processed beans from the green cherries are sold for less than a third of the red cherry price. They are usually processed into instant coffee for national consumption, not for export. Coffee pickers check in after a long and arduous day of picking coffee cherries on a coffee estate in Chiapas, Mexico. Many of the farm’s workers are Guatemalan. They work as migrant laborers during the coffee harvest in Mexico, where they can have guaranteed work for several months and earn more than they can back home. Chiapas, Mexico - At the end of a long day picking coffee, Hernán Gonzalez (L) and Timotea Pérez sort through hundreds of kilos of coffee cherries, separating the unripe green cherries which will undergo different processing into lower quality coffee. Coffee pickers throughout Chiapas earn on average 80 pesos (5 euros) per day, according to quantity picked. At the end of each day, quantities are calculated. Workers sort the fruit, after which it will be de-pulped and spread onto patios for drying. At the end of a long day picking coffee cherries, a group of Guatemalan women and children crowd around a community television to watch a popular Mexican “telenovela” (soap opera). This coffee farm, near Jaltenango, Chiapas, Mexico, provides above average living conditions for its workers, providing them with consistent meals and concrete dormitories, in contrast to makeshift wooden structures on many other estates. Chiapas, Mexico - Francisco Ramirez, 7, leads his family's donkey from the backyard of his home through the living room and out to a dirt road. The animal is a great asset to the family as they harvest coffee and corn. Ramirez' family are members of Triunfo Verde, a coffee cooperative of small scale producers based in Jaltenango, Chiapas. The cooperative sells a large quantity of members' coffee to Fair Trade USA and has used some of the proceeds from the Fair Trade premium to set up a health monitoring system for women in remote coffee growing villages. Eli Emanuel Raiter, 27, carries his grandmother, Angelica Flores Martinez, 94, to an Evangelical church service in the small community where they live, inside Finca La Revancha. a coffee estate in La Dalia, Matagalpa, Nicaragua. Flores picked coffee as young girl and throughout her life, until she could no longer work and lost one leg to illness. She is a recipient of a monthly food supply assistance program funded by the farm's Fair Trade premium. Guatemalan coffee pickers convene around a morning fire to warm the breakfast that will sustain them during a long day of harvesting coffee cherries in Chiapas, Mexico. They come yearly to this farm from Northern Guatemala. According to their group leader, they choose to return to this farm, since the owners give them rice, unlike on other farms, where abuse has been reported. Florentina Aguilar, 74 (L) and Malania García, 49, graze sheep in Hidalgo’s primary irrigation district. Throughout the region livestock survive predominantly on alfalfa, all of which is grown using black water, or untreated sewage. Some farmers have witnessed pregnant animals aborting after being exposed to the undiluted sewage that arrives during the dry season. Human consumption of livestock exposed to black water through fodder carries potential risk, though few studies have been undertaken to measure health effects. In Jaltenango, a primary coffee distribution center in Mexico’s Chiapas state, a team of workers efficiently load a truck with 492 sacks destined for a central depot in Tuxtla Gutierrez for further processing and export. Working together swiftly, the men can load a truck this size in 90 minutes. They load up to six trailers in one day. The carriers can earn up to 10 times what coffee pickers make in one day, making it one of the more desirable but also most challenging jobs in the coffee industry. Narcisso Reyes Gutierrez proudly inhales the aroma of his own coffee beans, before passing them on for inspection at a cooperative office near his farm. Reyes is a member of a Nicaraguan cooperative named Las Brumas, well known for producing some of the country's highest quality coffee. Farmers belonging to Las Brumas have benefited from the price premium placed on organic Fair Trade coffee and have used these funds to build a school in their community and to improve roads. Tamaulipas, Mexico, 1996 – Marisol daydreams at dusk while anticipating the arrival of more garbage trucks at the municipal garbage site where she and siblings search for recyclable items to support their family’s income. Tamaulipas, Mexico, 1996 – Marisol (R) and her mother, Eloisa, 39, search through mounds of waste at the municipal garbage site. One day, Marisol found a human corpse there. This incident made Eloisa determined to take her children across the border to the United States to join her husband, Vinicio, who gained residency through the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA). Tamaulipas, Mexico, 1996- Marisol and her sister Cristina protect their shoes while walking through mud to their local school. The dirt road was paved with 'caliche,' a by-product from a local chemical plant. Plant owners donated the waste product to the local government who sold it to 'colonias' by the ton in order to cover dirt roads. Balm, Florida, U.S.A. - 1996 - Immigrant children observe their new classmate as Marisol takes the bus on her first day of school in the United States. Upon arriving in the U.S., she and her younger siblings had the opportunity to attend school where they began to learn English. Their older siblings had to accompany their parents in the fields. Florida, U.S.A. 2000 – Marisol sits alone in her room, listening to the chaos of screaming parents and family members. After her family moved to Florida in late 1996, they soon relocated to Texas. Tension mounted between her parents and ended in a bitter divorce. 08/01/2000, TEXAS, UNITED STATES --- Through the fence, which divides their families, eight-year-olds Kristina (L) and Mary become friends even though Maryís parents prohibited her from entering the yard of her Mexican neighbors. Texas, U.S.A. 2003- Marisol (R) accompanies her best friend, Mayra, in the celebration of her Quinceañera, a Hispanic tradition marking the rite of passage into womanhood at age 15. Marisol and her sisters dreamed of having their own Quinceañeras; however, their parents never could afford the elaborate party. For these events, families often spend as much or more than one might on a wedding ceremony. Texas, U.S.A. 2007 – Marisol and Carlos interact inside their living room, days before she gave birth to her second child, a daughter named Anahi. Marisol had only wanted one child, since she had plans to finish high school and become a lawyer, a computer teacher or an artist. Hidalgo, Mexico, 2008 - Marisol and Andrés participate in a two-hour baptism service for multiple families in Andrés hometown in Mexico. Returning to Mexico to baptize his children was a priority for Andrés. Following the ceremony, he threw a huge party for his family and over 200 people from his village. The event gave him great pride. Hidalgo, Mexico, 2008 – Andrés and Marisol stroll around a village fair. December is an important month for parties and reunions across Mexico. Like Andrés, many immigrants return for the month to enjoy their families and the traditions they miss. The financial sacrifice is high, since they must pay up to $4,000 (USD) to a middleman (coyote) to usher them back into the U.S. illegally. Hidalgo, Mexico, 2008 - Disgusted by Andrés’ behavior in Mexico, Marisol threatens to break up with him. He reacts by begging her to stay in Mexico with him instead of returning to the U.S. Eventually, a month later, they returned to the U.S., since they needed more money. Marisol also preferred U.S. healthcare and the U.S. school system for her children, both U.S. citizens. She also discovered that she was pregnant with their third child. Texas, U.S.A. 2009 – Andrés comforts Marisol, hours after she gave birth to their third and final child, a boy they named Luis. Texas, U.S.A. 2011 – Standing on top of their neighbor’s home, Andrés lifts a piñata full of candy, a tradition at Mexican birthday parties. Mexican parents typically put a lot of emphasis on children’s birthday parties. This year, Marisol was excited that they could afford a jumping castle and a live singer. Texas, U.S.A. 2011 – Marisol and Andrés take their children to watch CARS 2 in 3D at a local cinema. Going out as a family is a rare occasion, due to their financial limits. Normally, they either visit Marisol’s sisters at their home or go to the mall for ice cream or possibly to their favorite Chinese buffet. Hidalgo, Mexico, 2011 – Bored and counting the hours until she can return to the U.S., Marisol watches CARS 2 for the fifteenth time with her children, in the bedroom that will become hers, should she and Andrés ever return to Mexico to live permanently. Querétaro, Mexico, 2011 - Marisol and her children endure a 28-hour bus ride from Mexico City to Dallas, Texas at the end of her three-week stay at her in-laws. Traveling by bus has become increasingly dangerous, and she vowed never to travel this way again. During a previous bus ride, gunmen came onboard. They robbed everyone but her. She believes they skipped her out of empathy that she was a young mother traveling alone with children. Texas, U.S.A. 2012 - Andrés is forlorn after handing the children back to Marisol following their divorce settlement. He felt like his life had fallen to pieces, and he hoped he and Marisol will be able to reconcile. His dreams of moving the family back to Mexico faded. Texas, U.S.A. 2012 – Marisol continues to wash large industrial trucks with Andrés, despite their divorce proceedings. As the couple had more children, Marisol needed to start working. Although the acids used for cleaning burned her skin from time to time, she felt proud to make her own money. Her boss, a retired truck driver, trusted her and gave her the flexibility she needed to balance work with raising three children. Texas, U.S.A. - 14 July, 2015 Marisol and her family enjoy a day at the Six Flags amusement park. Carlos was recently given a voucher by his teacher as an award for his reading ability, and the whole family decided to celebrate his achievement with him. Marisol hopes that she will be able to keep her children in the U.S. school system since they are thriving there. Being able to stay in school could make a big difference in how their life story develops.