Maria Alvarez
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Maria Alvarez

Maria Full of Grace

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About Her

Living… in Bogotá, Colombia, with her sister Diana, her son Pacho, grandmother Rosita and mother Juana. It's hard to make ends meet here. Bogotá is loud and chaotic – buses clog the streets, horns blare, waves of people crowd the sidewalks, just like in New York City.

Profession… former laborer. Her job was to de-thorn roses on a flower plantation. Every day, she and dozens of other women were locked into a giant warehouse, trying to meet quota. That is, until Maria’s boss fired her for throwing up while on the job. Now she’s found another way to support her family.

Interests… trying to make ends meet, however possible. Javier offered her a job as a drug mule – she’s supposed to carry drugs to New York, by swallowing latex-covered packages of heroin. If that works out, the people in New York will give her one hundred dollars per package, and she’ll have enough money for her family. As Javier puts it, “And in five, six days you'll be back here with all your money taking care of your problems.”

Relationship Status… disappointing. The father of her child, Juan, got her pregnant and then reluctantly offered to marry her. But Maria doesn’t want to accept a marriage like that – after all, how long would it take before Juan went off with someone else? She’s seen loveless marriages, and isn’t interested.

Challenge… getting out of this alive. She got through customs, and the hard part was supposed to be over. But the people in New York never paid her. Now’s she stuck in New York and has to find some way to unload the drugs, so she can bring the money back to her family. Her fellow drug mule, Lucy, gets sick on the trip – possibly because the drugs burst inside her – and she wants to help Lucy’s family.

Personality… compassionate, but desperate. Both her family and Lucy’s family are depending on her now. That’s a lot of responsibility, but Maria is determined to find a way to improve all their lives.

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