My son, he sings and plays guitar beautifully, we’re here waiting for him to come back. The truth is we’ll keep fighting this until the end. We’re not going home until we find him. He went to Ayotzinapa because we didn’t have the resources to send him somewhere else. We’ve travelled around Europe and the US in this fight and we’ll keep it up. It’s embarrassing as Mexicans that we have to go outside of our country for answers, that our government can’t resolve its own problems.
- Epifanio Álvarez Carbajal
Jorge Álvarez Nava is from La Palma, a town on the edge of the winding road that connects Tierra Colorada with Ayutla, in the Sierra Madre del Sur, in Guerrero. Jorge had typhoid fever at age six and sinusitis throughout his life. His health diverted him from his destiny to work the land with his father and made him spend more time inside the house attached to his mother. He read a lot and then told his mother about everything he was learning "About history, about how the world was made, about the moon, about the earth, about the meteorites, he studied all those things on the computer and he talked to me.” Jorge has always wanted to study, to learn. He spent hours in front of the computer, connected to the Wi-Fi network he shared with a neighbor. Every question that entered his mind lead him to the Internet to find the answer.
At seventeen, Jorge discovered his love for music and the world changed for him. Again, he searched for information on the internet and taught himself to interpret and master complex songs. His father Epifanio Álvarez was so proud of Jorge’s accomplishment that he and his wife Blanca Luz Nava decided to reward him with his very own guitar, which they purchased through great effort. Epifanio had emigrated several times to the United States for work "to be able to give them everything I did not have when I was little.”
When Jorge completed high school he wanted to study medicine. In order to afford the tuition, his father attempted to return to the United States where he previously worked in restaurants in California and Pennsylvania. Epifanio returned home after being arrested attempting to cross the border.
Jorge wanted to continue studying, no matter what the profession was. The only alternative nearby to study without spending money was the Normal Rural Isidro Burgos. He passed the admissions exam, but he was not able to pass the physical endurance tests. Determined, Jorge set out to train for a year in order to reapply to the school. Under the sun he began to walk for two to three hours to the field where his father sows corn, to bring him food. He worked with Epifanio to the point his airways allowed him. During that year, when Epifanio returned from work, Jorge would say: "I'm going to sing a song for you to relax." They sat together on the patio and Jorge played the guitar as daylight faded.
In 2014 Jorge reapplied to the school, again passed the knowledge test, and this time was able to pass the endurance tests. After settling in to the challenges at school, he started to teach music to some of his colleagues, and it was common to see him playing the guitar under a guava tree.
Below is a transcription of the letter Blanca Luz Nava wrote to her son on September 29, 2015, pictured in the image gallery above:
Hello my beautiful son. I love you with all my heart and we will look for you until we find you. I know that you’ll come back and that you’ll play me those songs I miss so much again. I want to hear your voice but I have faith in God that you’ll come back. I miss you so much my son, I’m going around the whole world looking for you and no one can stop me until I find you. And you are not alone, God is with you. At home your brother and sisters are waiting for you. Your grandparents love you very much. We’re all worried about you and looking for you, your little brother too. We love you so much sweetheart and we’re waiting for you. I hope to God that those people who have you will give you back soon. Your guitar is waiting for you, the whole family is waiting for you. Your father has never stopped looking for you. We love you so much. I have offered my life in exchange for yours. I love you my son.