First Person

My incarcerated nephew, the guest of honor

Our family reunion in Argentina looked like something straight out of one of Jesus’ parables.

I’m an only child, while my husband, Gregorio, is one of 12 children. We decided to compromise and have two children. They have no cousins here in the United States, but in Argentina, where my husband is from, they have dozens.

So last summer we flew to Buenos Aires to spend time with family.

Every day we left our hotel in the city—with its grand avenues, gorgeous 19th-century architecture, and chic stores—and drove until we hit the rutted dirt roads where our family members live. We always knew we were close to their homes when our eyes began to water and our lungs began sucking in smoke from the piles of burning trash that appear on every side. The government does not feel compelled to collect garbage in these outlying areas, home to many who work to keep the city center polished.