Francisca lives in Tijuana Mexico. She took the pictures in the first part of this picture story when she was 15, in 2017, a year after she had moved back to Tijuana from the United States. In 2020, she provided an update to show what life is like during the Coronavirus pandemic.
This was my grandmother’s house. When my grandmother passed away my mum crossed over with my sister, without thinking. Then she could not come back. The rest of us stayed half a year in the US to finish the school year, then we all moved. The good thing is we no longer have to pay rent. We are going to remodel the house. We are going to cut down that avocado tree, it brings mosquitoes, and remove the fence and put on a second floor. I share with my sister now, but then I will have my own room.
This is my dad. We get on really well. In the US he had a truck and he used to sell stuff. He was looking for a similar job here, but his truck got stolen and many of the jobs were just for people 18 to 35. But then my uncle got him a taxi. Now he drives a big taxi. In the picture he is checking to see if it is clean because he likes to keep it very clean.
This is my Mum. She is a good cook. Unfortunately when she came here, she had not finished high school so she could not get a lot of jobs, so she was a house mum. Then she got a job as a cleaner and she is really good and is going to be promoted. But some of her workmates don’t work very hard and they are jealous of her because she does good work. They were trying to get her fired, but instead she is being promoted!
These are my brothers and sister. We are listening to music and playing. They are amazing. The little brother likes playing guitar a lot so we always have to listen. My other brother likes soccer and so he kicks a ball against the wall a lot and it can be annoying. My sister puts on lots of music. Of course I love them. They are always going to be here.
This is a funny picture of all of us, my brother is fooling around. We always sit down and eat together everyday. My dad says some families don’t but we are very close. There are times when the house is really dirty and dad says if it is not clean in 15 minutes, no pocket money. So we rush around to clean it.
We are fortunate enough to be OK during this pandemic, so far. Lot’s of people lost jobs, but because other people have to go to work. Dad is still driving the taxi. He works all the time He has rules. He sanitises everything in the taxi everyday, he makes the customer’s wear a mask, and he wears a mask. And for a period he was sleeping in the taxi because he was too afraid to come home. My dad likes to come in the afternoon to visit us and take a break from work. He sleeps in the taxi Monday through Thursday and sleeps at home Friday through Sunday. Although some days he is so tired he comes to sleep more days at home. This is him.
I was in my last year of high school when we were all told to stay in our homes, so I graduated online. We had online classes. Lots of teachers took advantage of that. They gave us a lot of homework, and were not really helping us. Instead, we were just doing three lots of homework a day. Some used Google classroom, and some of the older ones used Facebook. Google classroom is really easy to use. We were all graded on our homework. I got almost all A’s except in Spanish grammar, where I got a C, but I know I tried my best.
Before this pandemic we were all submitting to go to college. I have to pay for the admission exam. If I don’t pay for the exam, I won’t have an opportunity to get into College. We are still waiting for updates to when they are going to tell us to do the exam that determines whether or not you get in to college or you do not. Probably the college entrance exam is going to be online, and they choose the ones who can get in. I want to do civil engineering.
If I don’t get into college, I will work full time in San Ysidro crossing daily to save up to be able to build rooms on our house and make it a second or even a third story house and rent them out and have income that way. Not only that but to be able to tell my parents to stop working and just take a break. These are still my plans whether I am in College or not.
Day to day life is fine. It’s not too strict. If we need something we do go out, wearing masks. When it first started, and we still had school our homework wasn’t due at the same time. That made it easier to do it. I had the use of the computer when my brothers were reading books and sending pictures. So, we didn’t have a problem with that. When I was not studying, I watched a lot of TV, then I would go to sleep at 1 am or 2, then I would wake up and eat. I did start exercising last week, and I do chat with my friends. Actually I like being here in the house.
I took this picture because here in Tijuana they sometimes cut our water for us and other neighbourhoods. This is our saved water almost ending after using it for almost 4 days. Luckily today the water was back on, and we were able to collect some more in case it happens again. The water gets cut off because some people sometimes make holes in the pipes, and break them. They do since repair them but sometimes they don’t repair them right and the pipes break again, or they don’t fix it right away. So we always have to have some water saved just in case one of those situations occurs.
These are my brothers, this picture was taken when we were all outside in our front yard. My brother who is a year younger than me recently got a job in San Ysidro and has been a big help to my parents and to pay bills (we don’t pay rent). He usually works on weekends and rests during the week. My younger brother is 14 and likes to play games on his phone, so he is mostly distracted much of the day. And my younger sister of 11 is always on her phone watching Tik Toks
Those are my Mom’s plants and tree. She really likes to take care of them and have them around the house. The tree is an Avocado tree. We will cut it down when we start building rooms, so we can have more space. So we will still have the tree for now and maybe we will wait for it to give us the last avocados that are still growing.
These are my beautiful parents. We sometimes like to go out in our yard and get some fresh air at night. My dad is coming home more now because there is not a lot of customers so he just wasting gas and he wants to spend more time with us and not make his life work, work, work.
Our plans for the future are to remodel our home for my parents and build rooms, because they’ve given up so much for us, it’s the least we can do. Personally, I hope to study civil engineering and GRADUATE. Hopefully I won’t have to work all my life If I can make a good income from the rooms I rent and buy properties (which are very cheap here because of the dollar). And I want to start the process of documentation to get my parents legal papers. Generally, I hope to be here with my family and just give them the life they deserve. It’s my goal in life. And of course, I want us to have good health overall. I feel like I wouldn’t go and live outside of Mexico. I’d like to visit America, but I just can’t see myself going back unless I’m able to give my parents legal papers.
This is a picture of all of us together. Since all this happened my parents and all of us have grown closer than ever. I somehow thank the situation for this.