Social distancing to slow coronavirus is hard for a border culture used to hugging, togetherness

The Trejo family has been careful about handwashing and using hand-sanitizer to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but when it came time to part ways near the Paso del Norte international bridge, they hugged each other. “As we were hugging, I thought, ‘Oh no, we should have given each other a little elbow tap,’” said Blanca Trejo, the 65-year-old grandmother and matriarch of the family. Her 15-year-old granddaughter Ruby Lerma Trejo said she tried not to hug too tightly but said of keeping her distance with family, “oh that’s hard.”  Her grandmother, aunt and young cousins were headed back to Ciudad Juárez. She and her mother and sisters were going back to Horizon City. The Trejo family said goodbye after a recent visit as part of the family headed to Horizon City and the rest stayed in Ciudad Juárez.

No retirement in sight for fruit vendors working to help sick granddaughter

Cuitlahuac and Maria Hernandez can be found at the Canutillo flea market on weekends selling fresh fruit treats to help support their family. The money they make goes to help Maria’s 97-year-old mother and their 9-year-old granddaughter, who needs surgery. “We’ll keep going for as long as she’s still sick. When she’s no longer sick that’s when we’ll think about stopping our business,” Cuitlahuac Hernandez says. “While she’s still like this, we pray to God we don’t get sick so we can continue to help her.”

In this video they share their story.

Texas researchers monitor spread of ‘kissing bug’ disease

EL PASO – Borderland residents are at risk of contracting diseases such as diabetes, hepatitis, tuberculosis, and West Nile Virus, but so far Chagas, transmitted by “kissing bugs” has not kissed anyone in the El Paso-Juarez region. “We have a list of more than 80 diseases that we consider dangerous at the department of public health,. On this list, we have Chagas disease,” said Fernando J. Gonzalez, lead epidemiologist for the Department of Public Health in the City of El Paso. But although Chagas has hot been seen here so far, Gonzalez said that the public health department is always on watch for cases where any new parasites or diseases are detected. Chagas disease is named after the Brazilian physician Carlos Chagas, who discovered it in 1909.

5 routes bicycle riders should try around Ciudad Juarez

Although cycling is not one of the most popular of sports in the Ciudad Juarez area (not even close to being one), there are great spaces in this border community for people to go out on their bikes and have a good time. Whether just for pleasure or as a way to train for a cycling race, our Mexican sister city has different zones where this sport, for both road and mountain bikes, can be practiced on a daily or regular basis. Here are five places in or near Juarez for a cycling enthusiast. Valle de Juárez

According to cyclist Juan Carlos Salayandia, Valle de Juárez is a 90 kilometer route that cyclists can really enjoy due to the great views, especially with the green landscapes abound during the spring and summer. Dunas de Samalayuca

This is a mountain bike training trail.

Health coalitions key to helping high-risk groups, says Mexican community organizer honored by U.S.


EL PASO — With more than two decades in the battle against against drug addiction and sexually transmitted diseases here and in Juarez , Programa Compañeros has successfully focused on the two most vulnerable communities — people who inject drugs and men who have sex with men. It was the realization that these were the ideal groups to target that led program director Nora Gallegos and her team to take action, not only in the STD’s area, but also on drug use in both cities. “As we went we found out that there were two communities that, at that time, were a little bit more vulnerable; the people that used injected drugs and their sexual partners, and men who had sex with men,” said Gallegos. The fight against the use of drugs and the prevention of STDs in the border cities has given Programa Compañeros widespread recognition in both countries. Gallegos was honored at the White House in May, where she was recognized for her community work.

Many U.S. citizens choosing Mexico for affordable health care again

A few months before Nadiezdha Dominguez was diagnosed with esophagitis, a medical condition that causes irritation or inflammation of the esophagus, she experienced first hand the stark difference in emergency room care provided in El Paso as opposed to Ciudad Juarez. She concluded that the treatment she received in a Ciudad Juarez emergency room in August was “worlds of difference” better than her experience at an El Paso medical facility in March. The 20-year-old UTEP student who lives with her mother in an area between Fabens and Clint is still paying the $1,350 bill for the hospital services and the doctor’s consultation she received at the El Paso hospital. Although she was diagnosed correctly, she could not afford to pay for her follow-up treatment in El Paso because she is uninsured and prefers to pay the “individual mandate penalty” rather than sign up for health insurance under the U.S. government’s Affordable Care Act. Instead, she crossed the Santa Fe (Paso del Norte) bridge with her mother five months ago and visited a Juarez hospital to get treated.

Borderland groups unite to close the tap on underage drinking

EL PASO — Whether they’re sneaking over the border to party, using fake IDs or hanging at a friend’s house, when minors drink they often go too far. “There are a lot of people who, unfortunately, they get into a driving accident. They get into a fight. They may end up pregnant. Or they may suffer academically because they were engaging in unhealthy drinking behaviors,” said Jana Renner, lead program director for Shift Positive, a new initiative aimed at curbing underage drinking in El Paso, Juarez and southern New Mexico.