Incredible journeys

By Rosa Mas Giralt

This week Channel 4 (More4) broadcast a documentary entitled Which way home; directed by Rebecca Cammisa, it followed the journeys of several Latin American unaccompanied children as they travelled through Mexico on top of freight trains with the hope of reaching the US. Different dreams fuelled their courage, some wanted to join their parent/s already living across the border, others hoped to be able to reinvent themselves and earn dollars to help the relatives they had left behind. As the producers of the film explain: “These are stories of hope and courage, disappointment and sorrow. They are the ones you never hear about – the invisible ones.” – See http://whichwayhome.net/

In a recent article for Geography Compass, Tracy Skelton (2009) provides an overview of the important contribution that geographers play in helping to understand children’s experiences, identities and practices. One area of growing research in this important sub-discipline is children’s mobilities, a “focus (…) which allows the establishment of a challenge to the perception of children as victims by showing the considerable amount of agency children show to be able to gain mobility, negotiate ‘street’ spaces and cope with the disruptions of migration” (Skelton, 2009:1442-1443). Despite the undeniable dangers that the protagonists of the documentary were going through during the migration journeys they had undertaken; their will and courage were testimonies of children’s ability to undertake independent incredible journeys.

Watch Which way Home in 4oD, Channel 4 programmes on demand

Read Tracey Skelton (2009) “Children’s geographies/Geographies of children: play, work, mobilities and migration”. Geography Compass. 3(4): 1430-1448

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