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Stranger in a strange land

Cecilia Sanchez is originally from Brazil but had been living in New Orleans. She hopes to reunite soon with family in Houston.
Cecilia Sanchez is originally from Brazil but had been living in New Orleans. She hopes to reunite soon with family in Houston.
Stuart Johnson, Deseret Morning News

Clutching a new blanket and a sack of donated clothes, Cecilia Sanchez waited for transportation to Camp Williams' cafeteria for a "hot lunch" Monday afternoon.

She's been in Utah for one day but hopes to make her way to Texas soon and reunite with family in Houston — her 27-year-old son and 31-year-old daughter, as well as her sister and mother. She's not sure when she'll get to her loved ones, from whom she was separated shortly before Hurricane Katrina hit more than a week ago.

Sanchez spent three days on the interstate across from the Louisiana Superdome amid trying conditions.

"No sleep good, no food, no water," said the 59-year-old native of El Salvador. "The children sick because of all day in the sun. The old people, too."

Like many other evacuees brought to Utah over the weekend, Sanchez isn't sure how long she'll stay or what, if anything, she has to return to in New Orleans. For now, she said, things are good at Camp Williams.

"Everything OK," she said. "The people here is very, very nice people. Food, drink is complete."