We went through so much. Why, so all this could happen to my son?… We will keep searching, investigating and pressuring until they tell us what happened and until we get justice
- Natividad de la Cruz Bartolo
Emiliano Alen was born premature and needed to remain in an incubator. “I had to feed him with a baby dropper and he almost didn't make it those first two years,” says his mother Natividad de la Cruz Bartolo. Celso Gaspar Tecuapa, Emiliano’s father, emigrated to the United States for work in order to pay the medical expenses. The pain the family endured through separation dissipated when Celso returned home and the healthy Emiliano took his hand for the first time.
Celso Gaspar does not forget that day, or the day Emiliano cured him after he dislocated his ankle working in the field. Without any knowledge of medicine, Emiliano set his father’s foot to prevent further pain, and carried him wherever he needed to go around the house until his ankle mended.
Emiliano also has an interest in caring for animals, and through research and practice, taught himself how to vaccinate his own roosters and pigs, and was often called to nearby ranches to vaccinate their cows and horses. The wages he earned he gave to his family, to support his siblings and to find a way for his younger sister to attend college.
The Gaspar-De la Cruz family is from San Juan Omeapa, in the municipality of Tixtla, Guerrero, a town of a few hundred inhabitants who live by and for the countryside.
Emiliano has a desire to become a teacher and to support his family with field work while he completes his studies. He told his mother, ”Mum, I’m going to stay and study in Ayotzinapa because that way, when I finish class, I’ll have time to help dad in the milpa.“ The family possesses the permanent desire to see their first-born return home after a day of school.
On the morning of July 13, 2018, Don Celso quietly walked down to the basketball court and among the 43 empty seats that have remained there as a symbol of hope. He reached the armchair of his son, took the photo that rests on the back and stroked it on his chest before leaving the campus without saying a word. A few hours later, graduation ceremonies commenced for the 2014-2018 generation of students: "September 26, 3 seeds, 43 hopes.”