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The author in Honduras.
This first-person narrative is part of Detour Detroit’s economic mobility series. Read other essays and stories here.
I always left Detroit for other opportunities. But I always came back.
Right after high school, in 2008, I moved to Miami, to leave the clashes caused by the sudden appearance of a stepfather. After a year of community service in Miami, I moved back to help the city that gave so much to me. I decided to attend the University of Detroit Mercy for Architectural-Engineering. However, I was only able to go for two years. Having the responsibility of being an older brother while making ends meet added to the already demanding and pricey program. I knew I needed to get away again.
In 2012, I moved to Washington State to work at an outdoor school. Altogether, I spent 4 years in Washington before realizing that I felt like an outsider and didn’t belong there. I packed my belongings and took a road trip back home.
While back in Detroit, I drifted back and forth between jobs trying to find my footing. Halfway through that year, it felt like life kept knocking me down. After hearing that a family member in Honduras had passed away, I jumped on the chance to move to Honduras. Although I was born in Honduras, I was adopted from my culture and family at the age of nine. It was time to search for what I thought I had been missing from my life.
Before leaving in 2017, I made sure all my accounts and bills were canceled, paid off or deferred. I had no plans to return, so I bought a one-way ticket.
Throughout my experience in Honduras I had the privilege of meeting my biological family while also creating my own in 2019. I met my wonderful fiancée Yessenia and her two kids, and we had another child together. Now we have three children.
My life all seemed like a puzzle coming together to form what I pictured my life to be. I was able to finish writing books that I set out to complete.
But during our first year together, Yessenia and I had to deal with getting infected with a bacteria called H. Pylori. That bacteria is known to live in your digestive tract, can lead to more dangerous symptoms, and is a normal occurrence in third-world countries. Since my immune system was not strong enough, I began having more health concerns that various local doctors, hospitals, and treatments couldn’t solve.
Eventually, I was unable to do simple daily tasks, which is why I made the tough decision to leave Yessenia and our kids in Honduras and return, once again, to Detroit.
I wasn’t sure when I would see them again, but I had to make sure that I could even survive to be able to continue to be with them.
The health care system in Honduras was economical, with some doctor visits only costing $20. I was aware that it would take me a while to work enough to pay for health care in the U.S., plus paying for the immigration process for Yessenia and our kids.
In the second month of being back in Detroit, March of 2021, my body crashed. My health issues included an inflamed intestine, heartburn, acid reflux, no acid in my stomach, sensitivity to many foods and adrenal exhaustion. While I had an idea of what symptoms I had, there was still no solution.
For about two months, all I could do was wake up to cook, tire out, and fall asleep, then wake up every two hours to eat and control the acid reflux. At the beginning of my recovery process, I began working at a cafe, which helped me just enough to be able to continue to provide for my family back in Honduras.
It wasn’t until I was introduced to a chiropractor, Dr. Jake, that I began to have a normal life again.
Within a week of seeing Dr. Jake, I was able to eat without any pain. After a month, I was eating three times a day and began walking. That meant I was able to look for a more permanent job. I was soon introduced to David McCullar, founder of Inception; a mental health gym. I began using their modalities and grounding products, which helped in my healing journey. In June, I was well enough to function and I was given the opportunity to work at Inception.
I have finally reached a place of normalcy. I began refocusing on my creative projects, which allowed me to relaunch my books. I began attending vending events and was even given an opportunity to be an MC. I have held on to a full-time job, while continuously working on my own business, and am on track to bring my family through a fiancée visa.
I have reached places where I thought my time had come. Yet, I am back home in Detroit, in good health, with a business plan, and waiting for my fiancée and kids to discover the beauty that this city holds.
This story was produced through Detour’s economic mobility fellows program, with coaching support from the Detroit Writing Room and funding from the Solutions Journalism Network.
Jose is a Latinx creative, originally from Honduras, brought up in Detroit and a world traveler. He is the artist behind Mana Moment. He is inspired daily by his wife and kids. Jose has experienced a lot and hopes to share the lessons learned with the world. If not, at least he has good stories to tell.