The following link is a short documentary available of the Enrique's Journey website: enriquesjourney.com
El tren de la muerte represents dreams in Los Estados Unidos pero también, a reputation of shattering those dreams. Many migrants aboard the train lose their lives or limbs from the dangerous tracks.
Manfred is 21 and has tried 6 times to get to the US. The narrator found him in La Pachula, Mexico. At the Amputee Shelter featured on the documentary, dozens of young men are fleeing their homes and from poverty for a better life in the US. Most of these men are in their early 20's.
If the economies were better in their home countries, would these migrants still want move to the US? Are there any other incentives? It seems that they are not looking for social aspects because their loved ones are in their home country and their are, in a way, forced to leave in order to live a better life. Are they looking for monetary or material satisfaction that their economy can't give them?
These men have fallen off the train in many ways: falling off, getting pushed, slipping, knocked off by a tree branch, etc. They understand the risk of boarding this train and know the odds are against them. Many attempt several times before el tren severely injures them and diminishes any possibility of someday riding el tren all the way north.
What kind of characteristics does this take? Bravery! Determination! Hope! Pride!
Is the risk worth it? From the limited amount I have read, the immigrants vision the US as this grand place with huge and magnificent cities. Once they get here, is it what they hope? The living environments, from what I have read, typically offer a better living situation. An poor area in the US would still have better living conditions than a country that is extremely poor and still developing.
What other positive characteristics are noticed in these young men and women? It seems that the immigrants are flexible and adaptable. They are not picky and will sleep, live, dream, work in any type of conditions in order to earn money for their family. I see them being selfless, most are traveling north, not for material wants of themselves, but for their family. They seem humble, patient, kind; making several attempts at months in duration and making sure they are taking the time to make the best decisions during the trip to stay safe. They are willing to help others during their journey. Are these traits cultural? OR do they work against Darwin theories of Survival of the Fittest. How far does human compassion go in these situations and what can the US learn from these characteristics?
Manfred and other immigrants write letters, primarily to learn English. But, for Manfred, writing letters was an outlet for him to express his love for his girlfriend he left behind. Here is another aspect of the question above: These migrants are willing to take huge risks and are leaving their loved ones back.
I have different reactions to this. I am planning on moving to Arizona after graduation. I have a few friends down there already, but I am CHOOSING to leave my family in order to pursue my dreams. Why is this not as hard for me? Is it because I will have contact through our technology of today - long distance is so easy with Skype, cell phones, etc. Is it because I can visit whenever I want? I'm only a plane ride away, I don't have to take a long, dangerous journey just to visit. Is it because I don't have the responsibility of providing for my family? I am able to do this for myself and there is nothing weighing on my shoulders. Why is it easy for me to leave right now... Does this say something about the American Individualistic society? For some, family is not everything. I love my family, but I am at a stage in my life where I can focus on myself and trust that my family will be okay.
August Sanchez - Started medical care out of her own home and taught herself how to stitch wounds and care for amputees. She helps poor and illegal immigrants, those who no one else will help. This must be a hard situation because these immigrants are illegal, BUT helpless and need hope. I don't think people are born with the capability to just send them away because they are illegal. Without her, their wounds would bleed out and they would never have a future.
Is this encouraging illegal immigration? By having kind Samaritans along the way, the immigrants know there will be communities to help them if anything were to go wrong (in certain locations). What if the Mexican policy changed/ became much more strict and limiting: by helping immigrants August would be subject to illegal activity with a possible punishment? Would these helpful individuals still put so much effort into healing and giving immigrants hope?
Along they way, immigrants have to stop to earn money. This adds time to their journey. This money helps to pay for wounds, for hospitals, to help others, to continue north, for telephone calls, for food, for some new clothes, etc.
Adjustment to life after accidents - Reality of never "living" in the US, but maybe visiting. Life after is working to get back to a stable living condition, making at least minimal wages to live by and happiness.