Extraordinary Stories of Ordinary Life

Juan, Live at the Moth

One of the first people I worked with for our series, Teenage Diaries, was a young man named Juan. Back in the 1990s, Juan crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally, and settled with his family in Texas, right by the Rio Grande river.

I gave Juan a tape recorder (yes, an actual cassette tape recorder)  to document his life on the border. Today on the podcast, we’re revisiting Juan’s diary. And afterwards, we have a new story from Juan… as a grown up. It’s a story he told live on stage at The Moth. When we first broadcast Juan’s story on NPR, we didn’t use his last name, to protect his identity. But almost 20 years later, when Juan told his story in front of 800 people, he decided to use his whole name. He said he didn’t want to hide anymore. Here’s a clip:

Subscribe to the Radio Diaries podcast to hear Juan’s entire story. In our next episode, we’ll bring you an audio diary Juan recorded about his life today. He now lives in Colorado, has a house, a good job, and three American kids. But…he’s still undocumented. Stay tuned.

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