Last fall, an 8-year-old boy I’ll call Mateo came to the pediatric clinic in South Los Angeles where I was working. He was thin, with sun-parched skin and very quiet. He seemed fearful of everyone and everything. His mother brought him in because his feet were hurting.
When I removed Mateo’s tattered tennis shoes and socks, his feet were inflamed and the skin was flaking off the soles. His toes were covered in black eschars, pieces of dead tissue. I couldn’t believe he was able to walk.
I asked what sports or activities had he been doing. Speaking Spanish, his mother reported that they had walked across the desert to get to the United States. He had been wearing the same worn shoes that I took off during the visit. His feet got sweaty and badly chafed during the long journey, but he hadn’t complained of pain until the end. They had arrived in Los Angeles the previous week. They left Guatemala because Mateo’s father abused both of them, physically and emotionally. The father was getting more violent and she feared that he might kill them.
[For more on this story by ChrisAnna Mink, go to https://www.centerforhealthjou...ala-migrants-journey]