© Ana Andrade from "Ñongos", 2014

Ana Andrade: Ñongos

Ana Andrade (Mexico): Ñongos

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Ñongo (adj. Said of a situation or dealing: Insecure, uncertain, riddled with difficulties or obstacles). Term utilized by the inhabitants of the Tijuana river canalization in reference to the ephemeral refuge constructed with their own hands.

The canal, a location where the dividing line between Mexico and the United States begins, also known as “el bordo” given its location, is used by deportees as a waiting area before they try returning to the United States. The majority awaits resources from their family members to enlist the aid of a “pollero,” others wait for fog so they can try to cross on their own. Therefore, due to their desperation, the majority turns to drug pushing for a living and end up living at the river for years, some of them ‘till death.

Due to the different type of crimes around this area and inside it, also the construction of the new border “El Chaparral,” and the frustrating non-solution of this problem, police does raids to “clean up” the area and rid it of a population that is considered “trash.” They are taken to the “Veinte de Noviembre” prison for public offenders and are held there for 8 to 36 hours. During the raids, the police beats up these illegal citizens, their food is thrown away and their “ñongos” and blankets are

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burnt. Therefore, these people, their “ñongos” and the river are transformed via conflicts of interest, natural effects, and the division between countries. I’ve been documenting what happens during the day in this area. What I’m interest in showing is how the people survive, to show this problem in a human way. I’m not interested in taking the bad news to the world. Just a human vision of life full of color, faith and love.