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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Enrique's Journey Reflection Questions.. Continued

Northern Arizona University Common Read Discussion Questions:
All pictures were found at www.Enrique'sJourney.com
  • Discuss Enrique’s relationship with his mother.
Enrique is upset with his mother and has a very hard time forgiving her for leaving.  A child's number one question is if their mother still loves them and why they left? Once he is with his mother in the US, he gives her trouble and doesn't make life easy. He feels abandonment, is spiteful and continues to do drugs.  Enrique gives her attitude and doesn't accept when she tries to be a loving mother.  Lourdes has been in other relationships and now has another child. Typical of other children immigrants, Enrique feels jealousy, that Lourdes has created a new family and doesn't love him or Belky anymore.  From Lourdes' point of view, she left FOR him and found work in America FOR him! She wanted to provide him with a quality life in Honduras. She demands and expected respect and appreciation for her hard work. 
  • Discuss the attitudes toward immigrants and immigration Lourdes and Enrique encounter in Honduras, Mexico, and the United States. Do those attitudes differ even within different parts of each country?
One of the hardest areas, by means of travel and getting through is the entry into Mexico. It takes Enrique several attempts just to get through the many checks and "la migra". He continuously gets sent back to Guatemala or Honduras and must start all over again.  This is the point that a portion of children immigrants simply give up.

Chiapas is the next major point and is known as, "The Beast".  This area is the most dangerous and known for bandits who will rob, murder, rape, etc.  Enrique learns several things: Don't take the busses because they pass through immigration checkpoints.  Never ride alone and don't trust anyone in an authority role.  There are several days where no women aboard the train because it is simply too dangerous. The Grupo Beta, a government migrants rights group works hard here. 

Veracruz, a city located nearly a third of the way up the length of Mexico, is where immigrants receive gifts!  People are friendly and signal in warning of hostile police. People who live on the tracks offer food and clothing up to the migrants on the trains. Many participate in helping as a way to protest Mexico's policies against illegal immigration. Instead of trying to cross at night to avoid the immigration check points and la migra, immigrants hope to cross Veracruz during the day.  The remarkable thing is that, "42.5 percent of Mexico's 100 million people live on $2 or less a day" (Pg. 105). Despite their extreme poverty, families have a generous spirit and through sweaters, tortillas, bread and bottles filled with lemonade, etc. The villagers of Veracruz believe in God's teaching, "When I saw you naked, I clothed you.  When I saw you hungry, I gave you food". 

In Mexico City, "crime is rampant [...] people are edgy and often hostile" (Pg. 126). The citizens of this area have experienced more negative behaviors from the migrants than positive and have nothing left towards immigrants except suspicion. 
  • Trace the different names given to the train. What does each name reveal about the journey?
El Tren de la muerte: The Train of Death - Some areas of the train and tracks are over 20 years old.  They are very dangerous and aren't stable at all for children and mothers riding on top.   
El Tren Peregrino: The Pilgrim Train - At time the train is packed with migrants, all making a journey north.  They have different experiences and expectations and are all traveling together for a new land of the unknown.
El Caballo de Hierro: The Iron Horse - To Enrique, the train is magical, strong, powerful, dedicated.  It holds the weight and anxiety of the migrants on top.  It will get him where he needs to go. 
El Tren Devorador: The Train That Devours - The train itself has the ability to suck its riders under when they are trying to jump on.  Many have lost arms, legs, hands and feet, or have faced death from the pull of the tracks.  People also fall from the tops of the trains, sometimes being thrown off by street gangs.  

  • How do you feel when Maria Isabel leaves Honduras?
I can understand it, but its repeating the cycle of a mother leaving her child.  It was hard for Maria to leave and she missed Jasmín very much.  Part of me is glad that Enrique and Maria were able to work things out and both showed commitment. Maria and Jasmín also give Enrique a reason to clean up and do better for himself.  They were his incentive to save money from working rather than spending his earnings on drugs.  


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