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  • Ana waits in line for food every Thursday. There's a food pantry in her neighborhood in San Francisco that doles it out. That's where I met her. I saw the long line and stopped to talk. She didn't expect things to end up this way, she told me.

    She also didn't expect to cross the desert. Or to cross the river grande. Or that it would be so hard. Or that when she left her home in Guatemala, she would never see her kids again, that she would spend more than thirty years living in another country.

    That's the part that got me most: She hasn't seen her kids in thirty years.

    She can see by my expression that I find this hard to hear. That this seems unbearable. Even though I have no kids. No plans to leave home. No plans to cross a river, a border, to never return again.

    But this is also success, she tells me. And she is not consoling me. All my kids, she says, they've all been to school because I've worked here, sent money home. They've all found love and marriage and children. They've all moved ahead in the world. That's why I came, she tells me. And that's what I did.
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