Traveling the Mexico-North Carolina bus route

DURHAM — There wasn’t much time to say goodbye. As they sit in their Ford Explorer waiting for the bus to come by that will leave them a country apart for the next 10 months, Edith Santiago Dolores and Noe Sanchez Reyes don’t dwell on the reality of the situation. The wife and husband just hold hands.

But the truth is that after a year-and-a-half trying to make it in the United States, time has run out for Dolores. Unable to find work because her medical degree is not recognized here, she’s headed to Tuxtepec, Oaxaca, Mexico, where a job offer in a pharmacy awaits. “Over here I would start from the bottom,” she says. “There I have the degree I need.”

Quince Años: Coming of Age in the United States

The swelling Hispanic population in North Carolina brings not only new members to a community, but also their new traditions and culture.

One such tradition is that of the quinceañera, Quinceañeras, also known as “Quince Años” or “Mis Quinces,” are celebrations of growth and womanhood for Latinas when they turn 15. A combination of Aztec and Spanish traditions that originated in Central and South America, quinceañeras are a symbolic passage into adulthood and responsibility. They involve preparatory classes, a mass or other Christian service, and a party similar to a wedding reception. Quinceañeras are an opportunity for young women to demonstrate their commitment to the church, their families, and their purity as they mature.

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