Despite the town's name, there is little sign of improvement here. Most of its inhabitants live in "colonias", poor neighbourhoods criss-crossed by dirt roads, large parts of which are controlled by criminal gangs.
Those who have jobs tend to work in nearby "maquiladoras", foreign-owned factories where local workers spend long shifts sewing clothes for wages that do not even cover their basic needs.
Edita's daughter, Rosa, was working in one such maquiladora in 1995. She was 25 and trying to save enough money to build a small house for herself. But after she was robbed three times of her wages on her way home from work, she decided to leave.
"We're leaving because here we're not getting ahead," Rosa told her mother before packing up with her partner and her younger brother hoping to reach the United States.
Edita received a letter from the three after they had crossed into Mexico. But there, things went awry. The group was separated after a run-in with Mexican migration officials. Rosa's partner and her 16-year-old brother managed to continue on their way and made it into the US, settling in Los Angeles.
Rosa was left behind on her own in the southern Mexican town of Tapachula, and after sending one more letter, all communication from her stopped - for a full five years.
During this time, Edita joined the Committee of Families of Disappeared Migrants of El Progreso (Cofamipro). Desperate to find their missing children, the members of Cofamipro were planning to launch a caravan of mothers that would retrace the routes most migrants take north, handing out flyers with photographs of their loved ones on the way.
While organising the first caravan in 2000, Edita received a letter from her daughter. Without saying why she had not been in touch, Rosa wrote that she had settled in Tonalá, in central Mexico, and that she was doing well.
Rosa stayed in Mexico for the next four years with little contact with family. She visited once and sent a handful more letters. From what her mother managed to piece together, her life was much more turbulent than she had at first let on.
ruby Posted on March 12, 2019 11:50