Francisco Dominguez lost everything after a one-year prison-term. On his release, he became homeless in Mexico City and started using drugs. He felt hopeless, until he discovered the street paper, Mi Valedor. Now, he is planning a future for himself that involves giving back to others. “I don’t want to be remembered as homeless or a drug addict. I want to be remembered for doing something worthwhile with my life,” he says.
By Francisco Dominguez, Mi Valedor vendor
I grew up in my grandmother’s house close to La Marquesa National Park. In the forest, we lacked for nothing as we grew and raised everything, and had clean, running water.
Prison changed everything; I was inside almost a whole year. I lost my family, my girlfriend, my two children and my papers. When I was released, I had no emotional or financial support and I became depressed. I came to Mexico City but I was homeless and had some issues, including becoming an addict. I tried to fix this. It’s easy to fall off the wagon and not achieve anything. Now, I apply myself to things more, I finished high school at the Coruña hostel. I’m also studying French, English and photography.
I’ve always been inquisitive. With Mi Valedor in hand, I have a way to connect with people, to live with other people, in different places and to learn of other issues.
I like the project; I have always liked helping others. I regard myself as destitute but I have the opportunity to be strong, healthy and creative. I don’t want to be remembered as homeless or a drug addict. I want to be remembered for doing something worthwhile with my life, something transcendental. If you tell me that eventually a monument will be made of me or that a road will be named after me, well, the joke is that I will be remembered forever.
I’m getting ready to go back to my family. I want to be a chef and have my own restaurant, with my own people. To be a micro entrepreneur through food. Anyone can study to become a lawyer, but if after all that you don’t have enough to eat, then what do you do?
In the countryside, crops grow and harvest well. I want to cater well to people, to offer someone a large trout with a hearty side dish. And that person will be able to take the leftovers home. Once they’ve eaten, they can leave their money. Now they take something of mine. My town is communal.
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