Just weeks before Christmas, seven-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin joined her father on a journey from poverty-ridden Guatemala to the US in the hope that she might finally get the chance to own her very first toy.
Relatives said the youngster was excited at the prospect of starting a new life thousands of miles away from where she grew up – a community left to fend off scraps after years of deforestation decimated its farming potential.
From buying her first toy to learning to read, the potential opportunities waiting in the US were ones many take for granted but to Jakelin were incredibly enticing.
But just hours after she and her father, Nery Call, handed themselves over to US border agents in New Mexico, she developed a severe fever and later died at a hospital in El Paso in west Texas.
Her mother, Claudia Maquin, said she died dreaming of starting a new life and being able to support her poor family back home in Raxruha, where she and her father had departed from on 1 December.
"The girl said when she was grown up she was going to work and send dough back to her mom and grandma," she said.
"Because she had never seen a big country, she was really happy that she was going to go."
Ms Maquin spoke from her palm-thatched wooden house, around which grew a paltry amount of corn and a few chickens and pigs scrabbled in the garden.
The bleak conditions endured by the 40,000 people who live in the area has led to a huge increase in emigration, according to the local mayor, Cesar Castro.
"It's not just the Caal family – there are endless people who are leaving," he said.
"I see them drive past in pickups, cars and buses."
Mr Caal paid a human smuggler to try to sneak him and Jakelin across the border – it was not part of the original plan to hand themselves in.
Despite Donald Trump frequently shining the spotlight on those crossing the southern border, demanding Mexico takes action, moving people into the US remains a profitable business.
Thousands of migrants and refugees desperate to leave their homes in search of a better life are choosing to put their lives in the hands of criminal smugglers – and are willing to pay up to $40,000.
According to her grandfather, Domingo Caal, 61, Jakelin wanted to go because she was inseparable from her father and often joined him on fishing trips to help bolster the family income.
He said the family earned about $5 (£3.97) a day by harvesting corn and beans.
Her uncle, Jose Manuel Caal, said he had heard she was ill before she died, but had expected her to recover.
"The girl's death left us in shock," he said.
"What I want now is for Nery to stay and work in the US. That's what I want."
Mr Caal, who paid for the trip north by borrowing money and using his plot of land as a guarantee, remains in El Paso for now but could join many others who seek a new life in the US by being deported.
He and Jakelin were among 163 people who handed themselves over to patrol agents on 6 December, five days after they set off on their 2,000 mile journey.
Jakelin died not long after midnight on 8 December, roughly 19 hours after she began to feel unwell and 27 hours after she and her father were apprehended.
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Officials said she had swelling on her brain and liver failure, but the results of a post-mortem to determine the cause of death – and a US investigation into what happened – could take weeks or more.
Until then, her family can only continue to mourn.