A Guatemalan's Way to the US... and Back

Updated: Dec 2, 2018

I stayed in Antigua Guatemala for 5 months and I met Marlo the first day I arrived. He was working as a guide for motorcycle tours at the hostel where I was volunteering for a few weeks. He is in his late thirties and had a though life before getting here. He has such a warm heart you can feel it from 10 meters far but you can also feel all the struggles he has gone through since his childhood. He shares his life story.

"We are eight brothers and sisters in my family. When I was a kid, we lacked many things. My grandfather was alcoholic. Many times I went to sleep hungry. I had shoes with big holes which is awful during the rainy season. I met my girlfriend when I was 18 and we had a baby two years later. I worked hard but didn't advance. One day, I decided to go to the US. I had no visa, no passport, only 80$ in my pocket. In 2002, I hopped on this freight train; it took me 2 months to cross Mexico. I was travelling together with two guys from Honduras. We ran out of money and had nothing to eat so we would knock on the doors of random houses and ask if they had any leftover tortillas. They said that we were crazy, it's dangerous out there, we could get killed. That we'd better stay at home. But they always ended up giving us some food.

I received a few hundred bucks from my family in the US that I shared with my two Honduran friends so that they can also get to the States. We crossed the US-Mexico border with a herd. Then I paid a truck driver and was hiding under his seat during 22 hours till we got to Houston. I worked for two years but missed my family so I came back to Guatemala. We built a house, bought a car, the family was back together but my salary was still not sufficient. So I went back to the US. I had a Mexican visa this time and from there, I had to swim through the Rio Bravo and walk in the desert for several days. I ran away from the police and left a truck driver without paying him. Once again I was in the US, working for 5 years this time. This is way too much time for a couple, for a family to be apart: many things can change. I came home but couldn't move back in with my family. After three years, things got back in order: living with my wife and two kids, having a good job and we are expanding our house. I'd say I'm 90% happy now. The 10% is only because I'd like to have one more child..."


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