The day before leaving for America was very busy for Victor Cal. He collected money from his relatives to go to his relatives and collect food as he traveled north.
His mother could not comfort him. “I begged him not to go so I could live here, but the decision has already been made,” she said over and over again.
He and his parents quietly shared the dog for lunch with a couple of chilli and sesame seeds. His mother’s melancholy weighed him down. He announced that he had to find a place to charge his phone. Pick up the phone so the coyote can tell you when and where to meet.
He drove the rough dirt roads to hitchhiking wherever there was electricity. The motorcycle stopped and drove to the nearest store a few miles away.
The 26-year-old felt he had no choice but to leave. The improvised city in which he lived was born of disaster and provided only hunger and death. America seemed to be the only way out.
Eleven people from his city traveled north in 2021. U.S. officials say they have blocked more than 150,000 Guatemalans at the border this year. This is a fourfold increase from 2020.
Many looked like a starving and needy Victor Cal. He served in the army and was going to become a corporal. Indigenous Mayans who speak Pocomchi were unable to find work in Guatemala. When the pandemic hit, he joined thousands of people who left the capital and returned to their farming villages in the mountains.