THEY STAYED

“We were thinking of trying to cross the U.S. border.
Now we have no desire to leave.”

Francisco and Alicia were desperate and hopeless. After years of hardship and lack of opportunity, they finally decided to move north. They would leave their hometown of Caborca, Mexico, and begin the perilous trek to the United States.

Along the way, they got stuck in Puerto Peñasco, scraping by on a small plot of land. Francisco found odd jobs working in construction and collecting cardboard to sell, and Alicia made and sold tortillas to earn some extra money. Before too long, the city government relocated them, along with some other families, to an undesirable area between the railroad tracks and the sewage treatment plant. Suddenly, they found themselves living in an unsafe shelter made of cardboard and scraps – in the very worst part of the barrio.

This was not the dream they had chased.

To make matters worse, their daughter was suffering with AIDS and the family struggled to provide for her needs. In the barrio, however, Alicia met a woman named Monchi, a Community Health Educator with 1MISSION. Monchi recognized her struggle and told her that she could earn a house if she served her community.

At the time, Alicia was understandably hopeless and defeated. She didn’t feel she had much to offer her community. But at Monchi’s prompting, she and Francisco began to put in the time to earn a house for their family by coming together with their neighbors to help construct homes. In Mexico, home construction is a community event where the family not only serves but also makes important connections with other families, all working to make their community a better place for everyone to live.

Eventually, Alicia and Francisco put in enough hours to earn a house through 1MISSION. And today, they have safe shelter in a house they own, which they can be proud of – and they have a garden where they grow their own vegetables. Puerto Peñasco was never supposed to be their final destination, but it has become their home.

“We were thinking of trying to cross the U.S. border,” Alicia recalls of the family’s difficult journey. “We were hopeless and desperate, but then 1MISSION gave us the chance to earn a house and in that process we also built a community. Now we have no desire to leave.”

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