An eye-opening documentary, Which Way Home follows a number of unaccompanied children making their way from all parts of South America to the United States. Some of the children are searching for their parents who have already migrated to the U.S. Others are searching for a better life or escaping homes where they are not really wanted. The children range in age from 9-17.
The dangers facing them on their journeys are myriad. I watched in horror and disbelief as they traveled by train- riding atop freight trains for days at a time. This is such a common practice that there are shelters set up near railroad stations so illegal immigrants can sleep, eat and get medical attention, as well as receive instructions to help them travel as safely as possible. Of course many children (and adults) are killed or maimed each year riding the trains.
A few of the stories take place in detention centers designed specifically for these children and many end up there. Some of the kids are caught during their travels. Others are abandoned by the smugglers paid to take them to the U.S. The resilience and determination of these children is both inspiring and heartbreaking. I was particularly charmed by Kevin, the irrepressible, gap-toothed 14-year-old from Honduras. Produced by HBO this film is directed by Rebecca Cammisa, who also created Sister Helen, another fascinating documentary. Which Way Home was nominated for the 2010 Best Documentary Oscar and for Best Documentary of the Independent Spirit Awards.