Dorche is a homestay host
in the remote village of
He is a humble,
man. On the surface,
the story of meeting
his wife seemed like a
love story, but their
“love marriage” is
actually one that has
gone against all odds.
Because his wife had escaped a prior arranged marriage, culturally she was seen as a disgrace to her family, and essentially ineligible for marriage again. Dorche, getting into his forties, had lost hope of marriage simply because getting married at his age was almost unheard of. Essentially the prospect of marriage, let alone love, was "impossible" for them both.
However, Dorche and Didi reconnected
as adults in their village,
and their friendship grew
into an authentic love, something
which is uncommon in their culture
of arranged marriages. Their love
was strong enough to defy thE
social and biological norms
to get married,
and even had a baby at the ripe ages of forty-four and forty-two.
Dorche's childhood dream was to have a big family, which he says he gets to live out with his homestay. He loves when it is filled with sounds and people, and treats everyone that stays there as one of his own.
"Even though we’re from different countries, we are one family."
Jesús grew up poor, in a region of Mexico that is poverty-stricken and infamously known for being run by the cartel. His father worked for the cartel, and lost his life being a part of it. This, of course, shook the entire family; he said when his dad died, his entire family died. Not long after, his mother relocated them to Tijuana, and remarried. Her new husband wanted nothing to do with a son that wasn't his, so Jesús did a "favor" to his family and never returned home one night after leaving to go buy tortillas. He was 6 years old and alone on the streets of Tijuana.
His family never went looking for him, or at least didn’t make a strong attempt to do so. By 8 years old, Jesús began his career in the drug trafficking world. He was quick; he knew how to stay under the radar; he was good at his job. He moved up the ranks rapidly. By age 9, he was promoted to the title of gunman.
"Me? A gunman? I’m just me." Even he felt confused how this could happen.
Instead of being in a 4th grade classroom, the streets were Jesús's classroom. Rather than learning how to critically read, do long division, and make fun of his teacher’s fat belly, Jesús learned how to fight, rob and murder. Nine years old was the first time he killed someone. He put a bullet right through a man’s skull. Jesús' remembers his whole body shook from head to toe. He panicked and didn’t know what to do.
Jesús' perplexity and disillusionment with how he was living his life was directly linked to his drug abuse. He had started using drugs even before he was given access to guns, and the drugs started to take control of who he was. Subsequently, others began to take control over him, as well.
By 25 years old, Jesús was high up the ranks in the cartel world; he knew every street corner, and every person in Tijuana. He had people doing everything for him. At that point, he didn’t even need to carry a weapon for people to fear him.
Due to the circumstances and experiences of his life, unsurprisingly, he really hated people. Getting close to people was, and still is, a difficulty for him. Even now, when people draw close to him, he gets defensive and wants to fight. But I never would’ve thought that about him if I didn’t hear his story. He seemed very friendly and loving in my eyes.
At 26 years old, his ex-boss gave him a call and told him Jesus loves him. He thought that meant he was going to get murdered. He didn’t know who Jesus was. But he said that he had a safe place for him to stay and rest, so decided to go. He was brought to this rehab facility by a friend of his ex-boss. Despite having enough hope to get in the car to come, he was paranoid the entire car ride that he was going to get killed by this “friend” of a frenemy. Even after being shown the place in a peaceful, quiet valley in the mountain, and given a bed, he was distrustful and expecting to get murdered. Mercy and grace were foreign concepts to him.