Magdaleno M., suffering cirrhosis of the liver, lies in a refugee shelter.
A wooden cross lies in a chapel of the refugee shelter.
Tapachula, Mexico – May 2011
Magdaleno M., a 35-year-old Honduran immigrant suffering cirrhosis of the liver in the end-stage, lies on the bed in a refugee shelter in Tapachula, Mexico.
I met Magdaleno M. while I was working on the immigration story in the south of Mexico. Magdaleno had left Honduras many years ago. After living some years in various Central American countries he ended up in a small albergue at the Guatemala/Mexico border because his illness had progressed to the point where he no longer was able to care about himself. Magdaleno suffered hepatitis C which is one of the main causes of cirrhosis in the less developed countries. The hepatitis C infection is often asymptomatic, goes chronic and after many years can lead to cirrhosis. At the time I met Magdaleno, the massive ascites (fluid retention in the belly) did not allow him to walk. Although he suffered severe pain he agreed with my presence and we spent some time talking about the immigration issue and his life. Two months later, an email message came from the albergue saying that Magdaleno died this week.