Friday, July 30, 2010
Saul Flores, 20, is walking, hitchhiking, and photographing a 4,000 mile journey that many immigrants take to reach the United States every day.
The Harding High graduate hopes to raise awareness about immigration and money for an impoverished school in his family's hometown in Mexico. The rising N.C. State senior took a moment along his journey to talk with me about his goals.
What possessed you to do such a thing?
It is a perilous, dangerous, and sometimes mortal walk that many people, including my family, have been making for years. It is overlooked and disregarded when immigration issues are brought up in our media.
When did you start and how long will the trip take?
My trip began on May 17th, 2010, in Quito, Ecuador, and will continue through early August. I plan, and hope, to make it back into the United States by the start of the new semester at my university.
Where are you now?
I arrived in Atencingo, Mexico last night and have scheduled to stay here until Friday morning. I´m then heading to Juarez, Mexico to finish my series of photographs on the Latino cultures.
What’s your plan for today and the next few days?
Here in Atencingo, my plan is to study, evaluate,and understand the education system of Atencingo. I will be assessing the school the money raised is to benefit. At night, I will be contacting local and national newspapers, radio and television stations in Mexico and in the United States. It is a hard time for the Latino culture, it is my goal to shed light on the realities of our countries.
How far are you from your final destination?
My walk will finish in Arizona as a protest towards the new Senate Bill 1070 that will soon go into effect. I have been traveling for the past two months and anticipate reaching Arizona within the next 10 days.
How are you getting around?
Opportunity and faith have been my guide. I have crossed countries by canoe, hitched along the Pan-American Highway, and hopped behind buses to reach all of my destinations.
Where are you sleeping?
Anywhere that is dark and I can close my eyes. So far I have stayed in huts with indigenous groups, camped outside Mayan pyramids, slept on hammocks, and found floor space along the Carribean Sea. There´s nothing better than to sleep to the sounds of the ocean.
What are you eating?
Exhaustion and nerves made me loose my appetite about a month ago. But here in Atencingo, with my grandmother, I have eaten more than on my whole trip.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve seen or heard?
Living with the KUNA, an indigenous group in Panama, has taught me to see an environmental lifestyle untouched by foreign influence or commercial products.
What’s been the biggest challenge so far?
Mental exhaustion is worse than anything, I am my biggest challenge. However, I did manage to make contact with a blue poison dart frog while crossing the Darien gap. It numbed my right leg and upper lip for a couple of days.
What's next for you?
Once arrived in the United States, I am looking for locations to display series of photographs and exhibit my journey of ¨The Walk of the Immigrants.¨ As well as sell prints to local businesses and companies. I hope to hear from local galleries in North Carolina, Arizona and in New York.
To learn more about Saul’s trip, and his photography, visit refiningthelines.com.