While a few of the IWMF fellows rubbed our tired faces over half-finished dessert late on a Saturday night in Tijuana, Eileen Guo was preparing to cross the U.S.-Mexico border at 2 a.m. with a source. That’s how committed this journalist is to understanding her story.
“I like to experience a place when I write about it,” says Eileen, 28. “I need to live in it for a little while and get to know it”
Not surprising at all.
Her astute curiosity about culture and systems led her to Spain where she lived for a while. Her entrepreneurial spirit took her to Afghanistan in 2012 where she started a social media and a citizen’s journalism organization focused on Afghan young people.
That same persistence has driven her to cross the border almost daily while reporting in Tijuana with the IWMF to document the burdens and, in some cases, the privileges of people who straddle San Diego and Tijuana by night and day. Eileen is also chasing stories about automation of the maliquadoras and how surfers are have become environmental activists.
“I see connections where other people don’t,” she says.
In fact, Eileen sees parallels between Kabul and Tijuana. She says the both are “edge of the world” frontier cities where people, often by necessity, must innovate and become entrepreneurs to survive. But it is also what makes that city and its people thrive.
Follow Eileen Guo and her journalism adventures on Twitter @eileenguo and watch her stretch across orange cliffs and gullies on Instagram at @eileen_climbs.
– Erika Aguilar