Beth Kephart (words in blue):
My husband is Salvadoran, and I spent 15 years researching his home. I traveled, took photographs, learned the geography. I lived through monsoons, and I picked coffee, and I traveled in the violent aftermath of the guerrilla wars. I wrote a novel about El Salvador then chose to reconstruct it as a memoir and in the midst of that work, I traveled to Spain to begin work on a novel that takes place in Seville. I love, I am trying to say, those parts of the world that are Spanish influenced, and so, when an opportunity came up to travel to Juarez, Mexico, with my husband, son, and two dozen church friends, I said, Yes. Absolutely. I want to be there.
Still, I wasn’t fully prepared for the Juarez that we traveled to in the summer of 2005. I had expected heat and poverty and dust; we were met forcefully by all three. I had expected long lines at border crossings and nights of little sleep. But I had not expected to see children of such substantial beauty emerge from homes that could—and were, while we were there—be blown away by a windstorm.
Juarez to so many of us now is the blaring headlines of drug wars; it is the numbers of children shot dead; it is gang members bursting through hospital doors and killing the doctors who are struggling to save lives. It is the residual of so many young women, gone missing. But to me Juarez will always also be the children who welcomed us with open arms in a squatters’ village—who burst upon dust streets in dresses so rose-red, so violet, so white. Juarez, to me, will be the photographs I took, and it will be this book, The Heart is Not a Size, which means the world to me because there, in Heart, is a world I came to love—a world that taught me something about courage and grace. Juarez is a world that I want to take you to, a world that I want to share.Thanks for sharing your story and beautiful pictures with us, Beth!
Miss Em, you have given me so much in my writing career. You have given me, again, a platform—and more than most will ever know. Thank you for inviting me here, to your blog, to tell this story with pictures and words.
For more about The Heart Is Not a Size, read my review or visit Beth's blog or become a fan on Facebook. Comment below and one lucky commenter will receive a copy of The Heart Is Not a Size. ♥