I-"Enrique's Journey" - Sonia Nazario - Los Angeles Times

I-"Enrique's Journey" - Sonia Nazario - Los Angeles Times

The Boy Left Behind

by: Sonia Nazario, Don Bartletti | publication date: September 29, 2002 | Publication: Los Angeles Times | pages: A1

The boy does not understand. His mother is not talking to him. She will not even look at him. Enrique has no hint of what she is going to do. Lourdes knows. She understands, as only a mother can, the terror she is about to inflict, the ache Enrique will feel and finally the emptiness. What will become of him? Already he will not let anyone else feed or bathe him. He loves her deeply, as only a son can. With Lourdes, he is a chatterbox. "Mira, Mami." Look, Mom, he says softly, asking her questions about everything he sees. Without her, he is so shy it is crushing.Slowly, she walks out onto the porch. Enrique clings to her pant leg. Beside her, he is tiny. Lourdes loves him so much she cannot bring herself to say a word. She cannot carry his picture. It would melt her resolve. She cannot hug him. He is 5 years old. They live on the outskirts of Tegucigalpa, in Honduras. She can barely afford food for him and his sister, Belky, who is 7. Lourdes, 24, scrubs other people's laundry in a muddy river. She fills a wooden box with gum and crackers and cigarettes, and she finds a spot where she can squat on a dusty sidewalk next to the downtown Pizza Hut and sell the items to passersby. The sidewalk is Enrique's playground.

The first in the Pulitzer Prize-winning series that follows a Honduran boy as he makes his way to the US.

Los Angeles Times