Sonia Nazario: An Amazing Journey

Misha Khan

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photo courtesy of ju.edu

Last Tuesday night I imagined myself travelling for days to an unknown land with proper shelter, food, or water. I imagined myself holding on to a fast-moving train for several hours at end. I imagined myself not being able to see my parents for years to come. I imagined myself being chased and beaten up or in some cases even raped by Mexican gangs and it terrified me. Alas, children as young as seven years of age go through everything I just mentioned several times before they are able to make it in the United States and see their parents who left them behind years ago. Sitting in the Terry Concert Hall, I felt lost, scared, sick to my stomach, and unloved. That’s how Sonia Nazario made me feel sitting in my seat as she told the story of Enrique and many other children like him who travel from Central America into the US in search of their parents.

Nasario grew up in Kansas and Argentina and graduated from Williams College. She later received her master’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley. She was the youngest writer to be hired by the Wall Street Journal and her passion for writing has always been towards social issues, something she continued writing about with the Los Angeles Times. Her Pulitzer Prize winning novel, “Enrique’s Journey”, has moved people all across the United States and is one of the most chosen books from freshmen all over universities and colleges in the United States.

As a little girl growing up in Argentina, she noticed blood on the street. Upon discovering it belonged to reporters trying to shed light on circumstances of that time, she became determined to become a journalist and speak for those who often times were unable to for themselves. Nazario uses her amazing story-telling capability that grasps her audience’s attention from the very beginning. Her willingness to make this terribly painful journey by herself to experience what Enrique did proves her determination in life. This determination has brought her very far and I believe has made her see life differently from most people. She does not judge any book by its cover. She carefully and thoroughly reads its content before making up her mind and this is a quality that I will forever admire in this woman. Her efforts to make life better for those less fortunate than the rest of us are truly great. She sheds a new light into the lives of the poor in Central America and what they go through every day. I for one would never have thought that nearly 51 percent of women come here for a better future for their children, but their children are back in their respective countries feeling unloved and miserable.

Nasario continues to fight for people in the US as well as Central America. She has written several articles on addict mothers and the impact their substance-abuse issues have on their children. Nasario wants to educate the world one reader at a time on how difficult poverty, addiction and, sometimes, determination itself can be. It came as no surprise that she received a standing ovation from the JU student audience. Her journey from humble beginnings to successful writer is all due to her own hard work and dedication.  Sonia Nasario is an outstanding award-winning writer, a determined personality, an extraordinary person and a wonderful human being.

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