Humans of Reno: Cachanillas, From Mexicali to the High Desert

Mexicali, Baja California, is a desert valley on the U.S.-Mexican border. Its population of about one million people identify themselves as Cachanillas, or Mexicali natives. Student journalist Jazmin Orozco Rodriguez traces her own roots and those of others from there to Reno and back.

From left to right: My grandfather, José Orozco, Aurora Orozco, and my father, David Orozco. This photo was taken a few years after my grandfather and my father had returned to Mexicali from their four-year visit to Reno, Nevada. My father had just graduated from Mexicali’s university, UABC, with a degree in civil engineering. The photo is part of the Orozco Rodriguez family collection of photos.
From left to right: Myself, my two cousins, Andrei and Adrian Perez, and my brother, David Orozco Rodriguez. Trips to Mexicali during my childhood were frequent and consistent, allowing me to connect to my family members since an early age. This photo is part of the Orozco Rodriguez family collection of photos.
Leslie Escalera-Nuñez is a student at the University of Nevada, Reno, pursuing a degree in Environmental Science. While much of her family’s history is in Mexicali, she doesn’t express a strong connection to the city. Photo by Jazmin Orozco Rodriguez.
Alejandra Hernández Chávez has lived in Reno for 19 years since moving from Mexicali. She works in immigration reform locally in Reno, but dreams of going home to Mexicali one day. Photo by Jazmin Orozco Rodriguez
The drive from Mexicali to Reno is a long and slow one. Much of the landscape is barren along the way, sprinkled by various abandoned towns. Photo courtesy of Google Maps.
My tata, Prudencio (Pule) Rodríguez, sits at the kitchen table in his home in Mexicali. My grandparents have lived in the same house since I was a little girl, and this kitchen table continues to be the kitchen table where my family and I share meals while visiting Mexicali. This photo is part of the Orozco Rodriguez family collection of photos.
Leslie Nuñez’s last trip to Mexicali was a family reunion celebrating the birthday of her great-grandmother. Pictured with her are her grandparents, José and Leticia Nuñez, who settled in Mexicali to raise Leslie’s mother and her aunts before moving north to Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo courtesy of Leslie Escalera-Nuñez.
Due to my ability to speak Spanish and my familiarity to Latin American culture, I feel really comfortable travelling around various Latin American countries. This photo was taken at the Uyuni salt flats in Bolivia in June of 2016. Taken by Jazmin Orozco Rodriguez.
In the summer of 2017, I was given the opportunity to work for Noticiero Móvil, a local bilingual news organization. Working on creating content for Latino and bilingual communities is the work I hope to continue pursuing throughout my career as a journalist. Photo courtesy of Vanessa Vancour.
The monarch butterfly population travels from Mexico to Canada and back to Mexico. It takes the monarch three generations to complete this journey. Photo courtesy of Alejandra Hernández Chávez.

Story by Jazmin Orozco Rodriguez shared with Reynolds Sandbox

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Reynolds Sandbox

Showcasing innovative and engaging multimedia storytelling by students with the Reynolds Media Lab in Reno.