On the opposite end of the compound, another family sits on the concrete steps of Senda de Vida’s administrative building, where MSF has installed a small clinic the mobile team uses for consultations. Ruth, Carlos, and their two young daughters arrived eight days ago from Catacamas, in Honduras’s Olancho department. They too find themselves trapped here in Reynosa after being denied asylum at the US border.
“I was kidnapped in Honduras,” says Carlos. “Thank God, I escaped, but they wanted to kidnap my daughters and wife as well.” He says they did not even need to think about the decision to leave: “We were in danger.” They were aware there could be further risks along the way. “We came to Mexico by bus,” says Carlos. “We went through Guatemala, but it’s difficult to go through there, too. Getting into Mexico is even worse. There are kidnappings, rapes . . .”
“We’ve suffered so much in Mexico,” says Ruth, stroking her daughter’s hair. “We stayed in the bus station, sleeping with our kids. There were times when we didn’t have anything to eat.” Ruth and Carlos don’t know where they will go from here, but they know it won’t be back to their home country, where the rest of their extended family still lives. “We can’t live in Honduras,” Carlos says flatly. “I’d like us to have a home of our own, but it was necessary to leave there. They threatened my children.”
The family has a temporary permit to stay in Mexico and can be referred to legal aid through MSF’s psychosocial care program. But their future here, stuck between a home they can’t return to and a haven closed off to them, remains desperate. “I think the United States needs to listen to what people are going through,” says Carlos. “Narcotrafficking, kidnapping, gangs—people are dying in Honduras.” He knows that some people may be crossing the border to find work or, as he says, “just to check it out.” But for Carlos and his family, the painful decision to leave was forced on them. “Only we know how we feel. Only we know what we’ve been through.”