A Way Out

The Munguía household stands apart from many other homes in their neighborhood. Both the mother and father live in the home, as well as all of their children. They are more prosperous than some, though by no means well off, or even middle class. They have a few comforts many others in their community don’t, made possible because they have electricity.

Electricity provides the luxury of a refrigerator.

And the enjoyment of a radio.

Still, it is relatively little when compared to the typical home in the developed world. Many comforts considered essential in other parts of the world are not even an option for the Munguía’s. The vast majority of even the poorest households in first world countries have regular electricity, running water, and a working toilet. The cost of electricity makes the regular use of it tentative.

There is no running water into their home, and while their metal latrine is nicer than many in the area, it is still little more than a hole in the ground.

The area in which they bathe offers little privacy. The makeshift room is right off the main road and the sheets used to enclose it are transparent.

Like all good mothers, Odilia, worries for her children. She yearns for them to have a better life. Her greatest hope is that they are able to get a good education. She sees education as their path out of poverty.

Odilia and her husband Jose’s employment provides well enough that their two children have so far been able to stay in school. School is not a right, but truly a privilege in their community.

Employment is difficult though. The work is disproportionately strenuous and long for the pay they receive. Jose works seven days a week, earning approximately four dollars a day. Odelia is able to work every fifteen days washing laundry and making approximately three dollars for six hours of washing. However, hard work is better than no work, and much of the time, finding regularly work is one of the biggest challenges.

Like children throughout the world, Odilia’s fourteen-year old daughter, Heidi, thinks about her future. She dreams about what she might achieve. She would like to be a police officer. An education will certainly help, but there are many other obstacles the children will have to overcome to make their way into a life of greater prosperity.

The greatest dream Jose and Odilia have is that their work might be more profitable, their children might get an education and that they might one day have running water. With all their life appears to be lacking in basic necessities, it is not a long wish list.

Written by Shalyce Cluff; Photography by Jose Miguel Amaya

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