Migration and Culture

Home Page

My Bio

Family Object

Agency Report

Borderlinks Report

Country Poster

Migrants in the City

Crossing the Valley

Open Letter

M & C Home Page

I found the most enlightening and enjoyable part of the Borderlinks trip was the lunch we had with a family living in the colonia Bella Vista. Our conversation over lunch with our hostess, Lupe, was a real eye opener regarding living conditions on the U.S./Mexican border.

As lunch was being served, a member of our group asked her if she had any family members planning to enter the States, or if she had any family living there now. Her response was that she and her family did not want to enter the U.S. After learning of the risks of illegally crossing the U.S. border, they decided against attempting the dangerous journey to look for jobs in the United States. The many deaths and abuses suffered by Mexicans crossing illegally have made Lupe and her family content to live and work in Nogales. Her husband is a truck driver for the City of Nogales and earns about $450 a month. This is not bad considering the average day labor wage is about $300 a month. Despite the higher pay rate, the family of 5 lives in a 3 room house comprised of a wooden frame covered in coagulated tin and plywood, completed by gravel lined floor. Lighting was supplied by 2 bulbs strung from the rafters. Heating and food preparation was done on a wood burning stove in a corner of the kitchen. Lupe stated that they were gradually adding on to the house to make it a more permanent structure. Once a year they buy building supplies to make the house another step closer to their goal. Lupe commented that instead of placing more money into the house, they would rather buy better food and clothing for her 3 year old granddaughter. She continued by saying that many of the owners of the nicer homes you see in the colonia Bella Vista, cannot afford to adequately clothe or feed their children. Lupe and her husband place a higher priority on providing for the little girl, than having a comfortable home to live in. This made me consider many of the materialistic ideals we pursue in the States. Seeing this family sacrifice so much in order to provide as much as possible for their children was very refreshing to see.

Given the arid climate of the region, we also asked Lupe about the availability of running water. Lupe explained that her home did not have access to clean running water. Once a week, they purchase water from a local vender down the street. The water is then stored in containers and used throughout the week. According to the article, “Community Health in the Borderlands”, finding sources of clean potable water can be a serious problem for those living in the colonias as sources can be dubious. Coupled with inadequate waste disposal, such tightly packed living conditions can become breeding grounds for diseases such as Hepatitis A. One 1997 survey of an El Paso colonia found that 33% of eight year olds and 90% of adults had been exposed to Hepatitis A. (Community Health in the Borderlands)

  P2230002.JPG (178640 bytes) P2230003.JPG (175321 bytes) P2230004.JPG (195522 bytes) P2230005.JPG (205117 bytes)
 P2230006.JPG (207459 bytes) P2230007.JPG (214448 bytes) P2230008.JPG (183929 bytes) P2230009.JPG (173882 bytes) P2230010.JPG (201736 bytes)
 P2230010.JPG (201736 bytes) P2230011.JPG (185027 bytes) P2230012.JPG (177329 bytes) P2230013.JPG (197602 bytes) P2230016.JPG (189276 bytes)
 P2230017.JPG (179307 bytes) P2230018.JPG (198195 bytes) P2230019.JPG (198177 bytes) P2230020.JPG (198050 bytes) P2230021.JPG (191559 bytes)
 P2230023.JPG (177574 bytes) P2230024.JPG (199699 bytes) P2230025.JPG (201035 bytes) P2230026.JPG (199569 bytes) P2230027.JPG (207469 bytes)