One Scorpion, Two cold detention Centers and Three borders: An eight year old's journey to Texas

The Texas Story Project.

Fabiola’s odyssey to Texas began when she boarded the bus from Honduras, her home country, to Guatemala.

Despite heading to this journey with her mom, she was sad because her brother and sister were staying behind. Once in Guatemala she had to walk for two days in order to cross to Mexico. Her experience in Mexico was unpleasant because she was chased by the Mexican federal police. Out of fear she ran so fast that she got separated from her mom. After jumping a barbwire fence she noticed that she had left her mom behind, she panicked but after a few minutes her mom found her. That night they slept behind an old shed in order to hide from the police. While sleeping on the floor Fabiola remembers almost getting stung by poisonous scorpion, but thankfully her mom scared it away in time. That night her mom stayed awake so she could make sure no creature could harm Fabiola. The next morning Fabiola and the other people in the group found a small well where they used the same water and soap to clean up. That same water was used as drinking water, so Fabiola’s mother tried to purify the water for Fabiola and the other children in the group.

Fabiola’s journey continued through Mexico. With the little money that her mother had they had small meals but not enough to get a place to sleep. Fabiola recalls sleeping on train tracks one night. Finally, Fabiola reached the border with Mexico. She doesn’t remember much about her journey to the United States, however she remembers feeling exhausted and sad. She felt as she was walking for an eternity. Once in the United States Fabiola and her mother were detained by border patrol. The officers took everything away from them even their shoe laces. They were transported to a detention center.

The detention center was cold and it had no windows. Fabiola and her mom were in a room full of children and women. It was crowded. They didn’t have beds or blankets so they slept on the hard, cold floor. Throughout the day they could sit on two cement benches but not everyone fit so they just stayed on the floor. Other than being extremely cold, Fabiola was constantly hungry due to the small meals they were provided. They were fed two times a day, the first meal was a burrito and the second was a sandwich. Fabiola’s mom would give her food to Fabiola so she could stay strong throughout their time in the detention center. Not knowing if it was day or night Fabiola spent seventeen days in the detention center.

From one day to the other Fabiola was boarding a plane, “Estaba muy emocionada, por que subirme en un avion era mi sueño” (I was really excited because it was my dream to get on an airplane). Even though Fabiola was so happy to get on an airplane, her mother was worried that they were being sent back to Honduras. After a few hours they landed and were transported to a different detention center. This place was colder than the one before, Fabiola recalls. She only spent a few days at this detention center, but every day she felt weaker and sicker. Fabiola thought she was going to be there forever.

Finally, after a few days Fabiola was released from the detention center. From the detention center, Fabiola and her mother went to a shelter before heading to live with a family member in Corpus Christi. Fabiola loved the shelter because she got hot meals, toys and a bed to sleep. At her time there she made friends and started to feel better. A few days later they headed to Corpus Christi where they stayed with her aunt. During that time Fabiola’s mom worked day and night to save enough money to move to Houston. A few months later they move to Houston where they now reside.

Fabiola currently loves going to school, in her free time she enjoys drawing and reading. Even though she loves her life in the United States she missed her family in Honduras. One day she hopes to visit. In the future, she aspires to be a detective for the FBI. For now she is awaiting her court date where her future will be decided.

Ximena Mondragon is a senior Political Science major at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio. Ximena is a McNair scholar, the San Antonio IGNITE fellow, the president of the Social Justice League and part of the Marianist Leadership Program. She plans to obtain a PhD in Political Science in order to continue her research of Latin American affairs. Fabiola is a personal friend of Ximena, she is honored to share Fabiola’s story.

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