After an unexpectedly long stay in the U.S., an Ecuadorian immigrant prepares to return to his homeland in solitude.

Story: Angel is one of many immigrant breadwinners who plan temporary trips to the United States to make enough money to provide better lives for their families in their homeland. Angel wanted to build a home for his wife and two children, a common dream for Ecuadorians trapped in poverty and corruption.

But it is equally common for these families to disintegrate in the unexpectedly long absence in which these men try to earn some money in a country still grappling with its stance on immigration policy.

After three years in the U.S., at which point Angel had initially thought to be returning to Ecuador, he was just getting acclimated.

“My wife told me it was impossible to keep waiting for me,” said Angel, now having spent 29 years away from home.

He has since saved enough money to retire, earned legal citizenship, and is now ready to return to Ecuador.

“I want to rest peacefully in my country,” he said.

But he is leaving with hopes that the U.S. will become more sympathetic to those immigrants who enter, often illegally, to earn a decent living for their families. He argues they don’t come to harm the country; rather, they lend a helping hand to Americans by working low-skilled jobs like washing dishes, like he did.

“And the most basic thing we ask for is legal status,” he said.