For migrant caravan’s kids, a long trek to murky dream

Jennifer Gonzalez Covarrubias –
The caravan of Honduran migrants defying President Donald Trump by slowly trekking to the United States includes hundreds of children whose parents are ready to risk everything to give them a better future.
In the past five days alone — since the thousands of migrants crossed from Guatemala into Mexico — the children’s parents have exposed them to a stampede, a treacherous river crossing and searing heat.
Driven from Honduras by violence and poverty, they have little choice, they say.
Many of the mothers travelling in the caravan are barely 20 years old. But they tend to have one thing in common: they are fleeing Honduras to prevent gangs from killing or recruiting their sons, from kidnapping or raping their daughters, a fate that befell many of them.
In a journey fraught with danger, there are plenty of worries to keep a parent awake at night, despite the fatigue. First among them: losing a child in the human ocean.
“Help me grab this child!” one of the volunteers accompanying the caravan shouted at a recent stop, clinging to a 10-year-old boy who was trying to run off in search of his mother, who had lost him.
Ana Rivera, 27, meanwhile walked beside her two-year-old son, who was dressed only in a nappy, searching for her daughter in an improvised camp.
Nearby, an adolescent approached an ambulance to take a look at her three-year-old son, who was almost constantly vomiting water.
The caravan, which left Honduras on October 13, comprises more than 7,000 people, according to the United Nations. Humanitarian organisations say a quarter of them are babies and children.
Like a lot of the caravan kids, Jennifer Molina’s two children, aged three and five, regularly have a fever.
“I know it’s dangerous, I know we could be robbed, but we don’t have another option,” she said.
“The gangs wanted to force my husband to transport drugs and when he refused, they threatened to kill us all.”
When not crying either over the imposing mass of migrants or from seeing their parents beg for food, the children entertain themselves with improvised games.
They play at a future in which their parents’ American dream has become reality. They “play as if they were already in the United States,” said Molina. — AFP