Kefrem is 14 years old and escaped from El Salvador a few months ago when gangs threatened to kill him and his parents. They live in Tijuana, Mexico, where he told me this story in April 2017.
We lived in a medium sized house in a small town in El Salvador. My dad worked for the government, and my mum had a store where she sold things for the village, all sorts of stuff: lotions, toiletries, pampers, shoes and clothes. All my family lived there and it was a big family. I had cousins who were like my brothers and sisters. We went to an evangelical church. That was important for me. I liked my life: I went to school, I played football, I was in the school and town team. We often went to the beach and to restaurants for dinner. And one time I went on a motorcycle excursion with my uncle. It was a good life!
Then one day some people came. They asked for 25 000 dollars and said if they did not get it they would take my life and my parent’s lives. They actually tried to kidnap me. The first time I was just coming out of school, and in the space where the cars park, four people were waiting and they told me they would kidnap me. But the park wide. I threw my backpack and started running and hid myself. I got home really scared. But then ten minutes later the same four people who had been outside school, came to our house with another 10. My father saw them. They could not get in. There is a very secure gate in front of the house and it has an electric cable. They called my parents and said give us 25,000 dollars or they would kill us. The Gang said we had untill midnight. So then we called a brother of our church, he was a local driver and he offered us a lift to the Guatemalan border.
After we got to the Guatemalan border, my parents both worked in Guatemala to earn money so we could travel to Mexico. We took rooms there on the frontier. My father worked as an engineer for a month. Then we got tickets and crossed without difficulty, they just asked for ID. We began all the processes in Tapachula and we were granted asylum. But there is no work in the Chiapas, or there is work but the pay is bad.
The economy is better here. We have been here 8 months. I miss Salvador a little. I know the gangs destroyed the walls of our house and took all our stuff. My parents find it hard. They are sad sometimes, but they think about me getting a better life.
I took this because I like to see the border of the US, because I know that one day, sooner or later I will achieve my dreams in the US or in another country. My first dream is to prepare myself to get ahead. I want to study mechanical engineering or business administration, either in the US or Canada.
I chose this because I love to draw and paint and my dream when I was a child was to be a general in the Army. It still interests me.
This is the plan of a house because I want to be an engineer. In my free time or whenever I am bored I draw plans. This is a house I would like to live in. In school I study technical drawing and I make these plans for pleasure and relaxation.
I took this photo because I like to exercise a lot. These are weights, I like to lift weights and build up parts of my body. I also like martial arts. I began that here in Mexico. Friends gave me the equipment