Pedro is thriving. He has been so inspired with the work Lulu does ⏤ and seeing the difference One Story makes ⏤ that he began to assist her and now is also working for other organizations helping migrants. He has decided to stay in Mexico and has moved into his own apartment with a friend. He is finishing school with the help of a sponsor through One Story. Pedro has decided to become a social worker.
Pedro arrived at the Tijuana shelter in October 2019 with his mother, Carmen, and three siblings. While living in Honduras, Pedro developed a strong work ethic and learned many skills, through any job he could find, from working in a restaurant to a mechanics shop.
How Pedro and his mother and siblings ended up at the Tijuana shelter is a story both all-too-familiar and singularly harrowing:
He was working as a packer with his oldest brother, Carlos, and a cousin when the protests and gang wars in Honduras started. To get to work, the three of them needed to cross a highway, which was the MARA 18 territory. They always traveled together, but one night his brother and friend stayed behind to have a cigarette. Pedro was walking a block ahead when he saw three young gang members appear on the highway; he sensed trouble, so he hid behind a car. He saw the men threaten his brother and friend, warning them to never come into gang territory again. A few days later, their friend disappeared; they later learned he had joined the gang.
Once, while cleaning the workshop, his cousin Nestor left without finishing. He told Pedro he had to buy tamales for dinner. Nestor did not come home that night. The gang had horribly butchered him, burned him alive, and put him into a sack, the number 18 carved into his back. Pedro remains traumatized by this tragic, horrible loss.
The next day, two tattooed men came into the workshop and asked for the guy with curly hair (Pedro’s brother). They told Pedro that if he did not tell them where he was, the same thing was going to happen to him that happened to “the other guy.” After they left, Pedro ran home to tell his mother that Carlos would be killed if he did not get out of Honduras.
As soon as they had saved enough money, Carlos left Honduras with his uncle and initially stayed in the shelter in Tijuana before Pedro and the rest of his family joined them.
When Pedro’s family arrived in Tijuana, they signed up, as required, to meet with a judge, and they are awaiting their first interview with migration officers at the port of entry. Pedro said he has friends in the LGBT community in the United States who would be willing to take them in.
Pedro says he is grateful for Alejandra, the pastor of his shelter he stays in, because she has been supportive, making him feel secure and respected. However, he is afraid to seek work outside the city because he has experienced discrimination; he recalled when someone threw water on him and called him joto, a negative term for a homosexual.
He has gone to shelters for the LGTB community, but he needs to take care of his siblings when Carmen is at work. After her initial concerns after Pedro told her that he was gay, Carmen has been supportive and loving. However, Pedro’s current situation makes it difficult for him to find work and finish his studies. He hopes to find a place where he can live with his family and achieve his dreams. He hopes to one day live a normal life again.
Pedro is a young man who longs for a life in the United States, where can feel safe and pursue his dreams: an education at culinary school, helping others, and finding a safe community where he doesn’t have to fear being harmed for who he is.
Lulu describes him in this way: “Kind, grateful, a hard worker, a man who has lived through difficult circumstances. But he is not angry with life. He is a young man with a profound heart.”
UPDATE: September 2020
With the help of a generous donor, we have been able to help Pedro obtain medical help for a skin condition, see an ophthalmologist, and get glasses for a long-standing vision problem. As the border remains closed, Pedro waits to begin the process of obtaining refugee status in the States.