Central American immigrants begin their morning work with a free ride on a truck, as part of a thousand-strong caravan hoping to reach the US border when leaving Cordoba, Mexico, on November 5th. (Rodrigo Abd / AP)
CORDOBA, Mexico – Double decker loaded to a stop on a dusty way, where hundreds of caravan migrants tried to hitch a ride north in their quest to reach the United States.
About 300 encrypted aboards – mothers driving children in prams along with skinny teens traveling alone. They threw their fingers through the metal gates and hung on when the engine was spreading to life.
“Let’s take care of the women and children,” says Alberto Mendoza, an organizer of Pueblo Sin Fronteras, a advocacy group that helps immigrants.
The group of 4,000 to 5,000 mostly Hondurans made their way to Mexico City to recuperate in a spreading sports facility where they could get food, shelter, healthcare and even therapy when they thought where to go. 19659008] Migrants continue their journey north to the United States at dawn on November 1 by piloting a truck in Juchitan, Mexico. (Carolyn Van Houten / Washington Post)
US Federal Central American Immigrants begin their morning ride with a free ride on the back of a truck when they leave Cordoba, Mexico, on November 5th. (Rodrigo Abd / AP)
For many, the last leg of the journey had been treacherous. The organizers had asked Mexican officials for buses to transport the caravan, but instead they had been involved in difficult rides, with immigrants who were flying into boxing vehicles, clinging to the side-trailer’s trailers or dunking on trailers. And Mexico City is still hundreds of miles from the US border, the ultimate destination for many immigrants.
[ Migrant caravans: What you need to know]
Activists say they are worried that migrants get injured or sick In Chiapas, a 25-year-old man died when he dropped a truck, according to the state prosecutor’s office. They also feared their security in Veracruz, a state worthy of kidnappings, organized crime and mass graves, including one found in the last 160-skull weeks.
“Many of these tombs are immigrants,” says human rights activist Andres Torres, who helped the caravan.
An immigrant, part of a caravan traveling to the United States, is on the back of a truck near Tapanatepec, Mexico, on November 5th. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins / Reuters)
On Monday, the migrants had tried hitch rides since dawn from Cordoba and blocked the highway north to force trucks to pick them up. But the police ordered them to walk 2½ miles to a toll station where they could safely board.
Asked why they allowed them to take unsafe rides, a federal police clasped their hands.
“We can not stop them,” he said, speaking on terms of anonymity because he was not competent to talk to the media.
Double carriers, who used to hire cars, marked one of the more risky trips – a furious, jungling high metal with large gaps in the floorboards to the highway below. The trailer was enclosed on the sides but had an open roof which makes it easier to breathe. But it was supposed to carry heavier loads, and every bump in the road shook the truck – and its passengers – violently.
The truck left at 9:30 on a 116 mile drive from Cordoba to Puebla.
When the trailer picked up the speed, the crawling crew flew into the air. The cloud of emissions escaped from the undercarriage. The black asphalt rushed down like a river.
On the upper deck, young men whistled and waved on trucks that struck back as they chewed chewing gum to avoid getting sick.
Wilmer 38, from Guatemala, runs out of exhaustion on November 5th on the truck’s lower deck, which migrates immigrants from Cordoba to Puebla as part of the first caravan station to the United States. Besides him in the green shirt, his wife, Nora, 35 and originally from Honduras’s daughter, Estefani, stayed 2 years that day. (Maria Sacchetti / Washington Post)
But on the lower deck, just a few meters above the highway, families were sleepy and tense.
Two women filled toilet paper in their ears to block the traffic noise. The legs from the upper deck dangled over them. Parents pushing toddler toddler keep the fun and count the wake.
“Do not sleep” Nora, a 35-year-old woman from Honduras, warned her husband Wilmer 38 when he held his daughter Estefani, a girl in a pink sweater that turned 2 that day. The family asked that their surnames would not be used because they feared being injured if they were ever deported.
It was not life Nora had thought about her family, her shirt dyed with oil from the dangerous rides. She had barely slept in the weeks since she fled Honduras.
“Yes, this scares me. What kind of accident can happen to you,” she said. “Either I take the risk, or I get poor.”
For three hours, they held on. Babies shrieked. The trailer hissed and rattled.
A young child sitting in a pram on the lower deck released a blue toy robot and reached it, and a crowd around stopped him and dreaded that he would fall through the gap. Gingerly they picked it up and gave it back.
As they approached Mexico City, air cooled and the sunburned migrants were pushed together to keep warm.
“It’s bad. I’m really worried,” said Kenia Hernandez, a 26-year-old single mother from Colon, Honduras. “On this road you do what you have to do.”
Beside her, Livis Murillo, 25, a stranger from Copan, Honduras, who became a friend during the hours they were sitting together. Hernandez hugged his 2-year-old daughter, Genesis, wearing a Minnie Mouse shirt and dirty pink pantyhose.
Murillo Hall the girl’s white shoes and her teddy bear.
“I do not mind helping” said. “They are all tired.”
Lenin Marroquin, 29 and from Honduras (lower left in a blue shirt) heads to join in the crowd that flies north, looking for another ride after the Cordoba-to-Puebla trip ended. (Maria Sacchetti / Washington Post)
Some truckers charged 100 pesos, or about $ 5, for the trip, immigrants said. Most were the trip free, a sign of support, said Walter Cuello, who helped organize the caravan in Honduras.
On the train some teenagers said they were not afraid of the trip and dangled outside the edges without holding on.
Claudia Sordo, 18, said she was not afraid when her boyfriend smiled. But then she knew she was afraid.
“It’s very dangerous,” she said. “People think it’s easy for us to get there. It’s not easy.”
Finally, just before 1 o’clock, the truck stopped and the migrants stepped out and filtered out. They were in Puebla, far from their destination in Mexico City, more than 80 miles from there.
From there, those who went to the United States would have an even longer journey because they were hundreds of miles from the border.  Lenin Marroquin, 29, from Ceiba, Honduras, jumped off the trailer and stretched in the breaking line, then went to the group floating north to find the next trip.
“It was rough,” he said about the trip. “But we must do it.”
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