Saul Flores, a photojournalist, recent graduate from N.C. State and a migrant from Mexico, told UNC Charlotte about his journey through Latin America on Wednesday, Nov. 20.
The Walk of Immigrants is a project brought forth by Saul Flores in his effort to see what the immigrants from Latin America go through in order to get to the United States as his mother and father did.
Traveling by any means necessary, Flores’s expedition was over 5000 miles. He encountered dangerous feats along the way and met remarkable and inspiring people. He saw and experienced things that normally, people would never see unless in their dreams.
His mother and father migrated from a small city in Mexico. Flores’s mother left everything she loved behind in order for Flores to have a better life and a better education. When his mother and father arrived to New York, they had nothing and consequentially “started from the bottom.”
“My father worked a variety of jobs; a paperboy, a pizza boy, etc. and my mother was a nanny and cleaned homes. We literally started from the bottom,” Flores said in his speech.
“I never knew the impact of a photograph until I was traveling and trying to explain to my mother the culture I was seeing,” he said.
Flores learned photography in order to get into the School of Design at N.C. State. He was informed that he would need a diverse portfolio, so he started picking up photography more, which was then just a hobby.
“Four things that I wanted to accomplish on this journey was first, to be a metaphor for the millions of immigrants that come to the United States every day. The second was to use photography to connect Latin America and the United States. I will teach people about our lives. Third was to use photographs to help rebuild the school in my mother’s hometown in Mexico. Lastly, the fourth was to make it back alive to share the story with everyone,” stated Flores.
He tried passing through the dense forest of the Colombian and Panamanian border. Without prevail, he was poisoned by a dart frog and was caught by the Colombian army, who forced him to go back to Colombia.
He sat in the border town, contemplating on how he was going to go to Panama until a random man sitting in a log canoe showed up.
The man offered to help him.
When Flores asked the man why, the man replied, “You were in need of help, so I helped you.”
He brought Flores to a beautiful town where the water was transparent and the brightly colored fish swam.
Saul described it as a dream.
He was grateful for the man that had helped him on his journey, commenting that not many know the lives of these people. Getting to know these people was a beautiful experience.
The experience made Flores understand how hard it was for all the migrants that were trying to come to America every day. He had a first-hand experience of how difficult the struggle was.
Saul met a large amount of different people, took thousands of pictures, and continues to tell his journey through Latin America with passion. However, he has many more things yet to come.
To learn more about The Walk of the Immigrants you can visit his website at http://www.thewalkoftheimmigrants.com/.
To hear his Ted Talk on The Walk of the Immigrants you can go to