Gonzalo, turned 22 during his trip as an undocumented person in Mexico. His family in Honduras hopes that he’ll make it to the U.S. He left a message on this board for his wife and 9 month old daughter: “Lorena, Rafaela, I miss you a lot. Back soon ” – Ixtepec, Oaxaca, 2011
The Backpack of Salvador Santo. Salvador Santo, 21, has written inside the phone number of a relative in Honduras. The need to hide information arises to prevent abductions and extortion of family while he crosses Mexico. According to the National System of Public Security (SNSP), abductions reported to the Attorney General in 2013 were more than 3,600 cases compared to 1,259 in 2012. – D.F., Mexico, 2014
Wendy fled from Honduras with her three children (Jared of 18 months, Jazmin of 3 years, and Eduardo of 8) because of the attempted murder she suffered by her husband, a member of the Mara Salvatrucha 18, one of two of the largest gangs in Central America. The complaint filed against her husband for domestic and sexual violence towards her and their three children had no solution in Honduras due to corruption. – Tapachula, Chiapas, 2014
(pictured left) Armando, El Salvador. His destination was the United States, but he was deported in Baja California while riding in the cargo train crossing Mexico. He wanted to retry the trip as undocumented via Tenosique, Tabasco. This time, while trying to get on the train, he fell and the very train amputated his arm. He awaits the document certifying him as a refugee. – Tapachula, Chiapas, 2014. (pictured right) Celso’s prosthesis. Celso, Honduras, 31, victim of an accident while riding the freight train they call the Beast. – Tapachula, Mexico, 2014
Photographer Nicola Okin Frioli has been documenting the heartbreak, failures, misery, grief and victimization of thousands of migrants over the past twelve years. Having extensively traveled and documented his way through Northern Mexico, India, Pakistan, Kashmir, and Sardinia, Frioli has seen the desperate measures people will go to in order to create a better future for themselves and their families.
His latest project, titled Al ‘Otro Lado’ del Sueño / The Other Side of the American Dream is a harrowing reminder of the many hardships people face while chasing what seems like an impossible goal. This series focuses on men, women traveling alone, the elderly, and children, all of whom come from Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua and are attempting to get to ‘the other side’ – across the American border. The extent of these hardships are often underestimated: not only is there exploitation, discrimination and abuse from migration authorities, but also from gangs (Maras Salvatruchas) connected with smuggling and protection fees. Frioli says:
The intention of this project is clear: to gather documents and testimonies of the complaints and all of the abuses the migrants suffer; to be more knowledgeable about the abuse and corruption that the Mexican border authorities direct against Central American migrants; and to use pictures – painful and touching images – to reveal the physical scars, the pain, and the humiliation of those who at one point allowed themselves to dream of something better. (Source)
Water bottle with loop, owned by Benjamin Chavarrie, 40, originally from El Salvador. The loop serves to carry water while traveling on the roof of the Beast. – D.F., Mexico, 2014
Anonymous with daughters hidden behind the cardboard to protect their identity. The message says “I have worked with drug traffickers (in Honduras) to support my family, until I fled for the safety of my children.” In Central America, one of the few jobs available is drug trafficking. – Tapachula, Mexico, 2014
Mariana, 29 years old, Honduras. She was assaulted during her crossing as an undocumented person through mexico, with the intent to arrive in the United States. She was pushed by the assailants into a ravine, and was able to avoid an attempted rape. Mariana’s travel companion was beaten when he attempted to defend her. She was moved to a hospital in Tenosique, Tabasco, and then three others where they did not perform the necessary operation. Fifteen days had passed (8 days were in a Hospital in Villahermosa, Tabasco) and the operation became urgent. The last doctor that saw her only requested a new splint and a call to immigration. – Tapachula, Chiapas, 2010
Teofilo Santos Rivera, 42, Panamá. He was the victim of an attempted mass assault by gang members during the crossing through Mexico. He jumped off the roof of the train, hurting his feet. Also suffers from liver cirrhosis and a cancerous sore on the back. In January 2014, the doctor gave him only 40 days to live. His idea is to reach his children and grandchildren in the U.S. to say goodbye. – Tapachula, Chiapas, 2014.
The Rosary. It was given to Elsa Santos Mateo (28, Honduras) by her employer in Guatemala to protect her during her journey. -D.F., Mexico, 2014.
“I’m 14 years old and I travel with my brother. I want to arrive to the border line. During the trip on top of the (beast) I had a wasp attack. My name is Yimi” – Ixtepec, Oaxaca, 2011.
Yenifer, 8, Guatemala. She suffered, along with her 12 year old sister and 11 other migrants, an automobile accident in Chiapas. The accident was caused by a flat front tire of the truck they boarded. The only person who died was the driver. They wanted to reach the U.S. – Tapachula, Chiapas, 2014
“I’m 21, from Guatemala; while in the U.S. my brother, Danilo, and I were deported, and my brother Medardo was killed. In the end, I lost everything and I keep trying. ” – Ixtepec, Oaxaca, 2011.
Wheelchair, adapted from a plastic garden seat. It is a work donated by the International Organization – Free Wheelchair Mission – (www.freewheelchair.org) to to the shelter “Jesus el Buen Pastor” in Tapachula. – Tapachula, Chiapas, 2008