Para mucha gente, cuando piensa en América Latina, el fútbol es la primera cosa que le viene a la mente.
Para los estudiantes latinoamericanos que asisten a la universidad en Estados Unidos, el fútbol puede resultar en una afinidad --una manera de encontrar familiaridad en un nuevo entorno.
El tercer viernes de cada mes, varios hombres latinos que viven en Johnson City y Kingsport, Tennessee, se juntan para cocinar comidas que les recuerdan a sus pasados.
Aunque el grupo no tiene un nombre oficial, los hombres se han autodenominado “Los Machos” y han llamado a sus reuniones la “Cena de Machos”. Antonio Rusiñol, uno de los miembros, dice que no es un título serio, porque el término “macho” tiene connotaciones negativas en los Estados Unidos y también en su país de origen, Argentina.
“La llamamos solo en broma ‘Cena de Machos,’” dijo Rusiñol.”[Significa] más como ‘cena con los hombres’”.
Desde un inicio humilde en la Ciudad de México a una vida en el noreste de Tennessee, los hermanos Josiamar y Carlos Martínez siempre han soñado con tener su propio negocio.
Durante su infancia en la Ciudad de México, los hermanos ya estaban trabajando y ganando su propio dinero.
“Hacíamos favores a la gente”, dijo Josiamar. “Preguntaban: ‘¿Puedes comprar algo para mí en el mercado?’. Utilizábamos bicicletas para llegar allí y así ganábamos dinero. Teníamos 6 y 11 años. Las personas ancianas, no quieren salir, y nos daban propinas y ese tipo de cosas”.
Visitar ventas de yarda locales durante todo el año ayuda a mantener a los hermanos en el negocio en el mercado de pulgas de Jonesborough, donde trabajan los domingos.
Su sonrisa era acogedora y las manzanas rojas que la hija de José Vázquez colocó en la mesa empezaban a cambiar al color de su cálida tez marrón. Vázquez, 77, rió mientras trataba de recordar cuándo había atravesado la frontera a América para trabajar en el sol caliente. "Hace mucho tiempo atrás" es finalmente lo que concluyó.
El peor recuerdo que tiene de su tiempo en el Programa Bracero es la comida - especialmente la avena. Ésta no era nada como la que Vázquez estaba acostumbrado a comer en México. Él dijo que la miraba y se preguntaba qué era esta plasta que los americanos estaban tratando de darle de comer.
From humble beginnings in Mexico City to a life in Northeast Tennessee, brothers Josiamar and Carlos Martinez dreamed of owning their own business.
During their childhoods in Mexico City, the brothers were already earning their own money.
“We made favors to the people,” Josiamar said. “They asked, ‘Can you buy something for me at the store?’, and we made money and would use bicycles to get there. We were 6 and 11 years old. Older people, they don’t want to go out, and would tip us and things like that.”
Visiting yard sales throughout the year helps keep the brothers in business at the Jonesborough Flea Market, where they work on Sundays.
His smile was inviting, and the red apples José Vázquez’s daughter placed on the table were starting to turn the color of his warm, brown complexion. Vázquez, 77, laughed as he tried to remember the when he had crossed the border to America to work in the hot sun. “A long time ago” is finally what was settled on.
The worst thing he could remember about his time in the Bracero Program was the food — especially the oatmeal. Oatmeal was nothing like Vázquez was used to eating in Mexico. He said he would look down at it and wonder what this mush was the Americans were trying to feed him.
On the third Friday of each month, several Latino men living in Johnson City and Kingsport, Tennessee, get together to cook meals that remind them of their past.
Although the group has no official name, the men have called themselves “The Machos” and have dubbed their meetings “Cena de Machos.” Antonio Rusiñol, one of the members, says it is not a serious title, since the term “macho” has negative connotations in the United States as well as in his home country of Argentina.
“We just jokingly called it ‘Cena de Machos,’” Rusiñol said. “[It means] more like ‘dinner with the guys.’”
When many people think of Latin America, soccer is the first thing that comes to mind.
For Latin American students attending college in the U.S., soccer can be a common ground – a way of finding familiarity in a new setting.
“Mom, I don’t want to go back to my dad because he wants to have control of our lives,” a daughter tells her mother.
“I know, but I love him, and you know he loves us,” she replies.
“Then why does he hurt us?” her daughter asks. “I know you’re scared, I am too. We don’t have to be.”
This mother was a victim of domestic violence and didn’t feel she could leave her husband. Her eldest daughter took action, moving herself and her mother to a shelter so they could have a better life.
In cases of domestic violence, victims often feel they have no other option than to endure the cruelties inflicted on them by their spouse or family. Sometimes, they fear for their life or the lives of their children and sometimes they fear deportment.
In minor league baseball, athletes come from thousands of miles away in hopes of making it to that next level. They only have a few months to prove themselves or be sent back home… back to square one.
The Johnson City Cardinals rookie team has many fans that support them throughout the summer season. Young kids look up to the players because they’re the only baseball players in town beyond the collegiate level.
The side of the Cardinals that most fans don’t see is the athletes coming from outside the U.S.
A mother and her child are waiting for their two-year checkup at East Tennessee State University’s pediatric clinic when José Zepeda and a resident pediatrician enter the room.
“How’s our little girl?” said the doctor.
“¿Cómo está la niña?” said Zepeda.
“Muy bien!” said the mother of the child in question.
“She is very well,” said Zepeda to the doctor, glancing at the little girl with a smile.
The mother does not speak English and the doctor does not speak Spanish, but the seemingly endless questionnaire of things like, “How many servings of fruits and vegetables does she eat per day?” goes over with ease.
“There is an art to interpreting,” said Zepeda, a certified medical interpreter at ETSU Pediatrics. “My job is to help two people who cannot communicate with each other come together and be able to care for this child. That is why I love doing this.”
Laid before him are the chalice, the paten, the sanctuary candle and a book of prayers and Bible readings called the lectionary. All are placed upon the corporal, a white linen cloth.
These are the tools that Father Jesús Guerrero-Rodriguez uses to conduct Mass for the members of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Johnson City, Tennessee.
He looks up and says, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
Members of the congregation move their hands to mark the points of the cross on their bodies and a uniform “amen” ripples through across the crowded pews.
Cruz Ortega is an ordinary guy with an extraordinary story of overcoming adversity through patience and persistence. It took him 14 years, but this year he finally obtained U.S. citizenship.
As a child, Ortega lived in a rural area of Mexico, but today he helps run a company called SPC Manufacturing in Johnson City, Tennessee. Ortega recalls what led him to the United States, where some of his family already lived.