Brigida Olivares has lived in a classroom at her grandson’s rural teacher college in southern Mexico since the young man and 42 other students vanished last year.
Like Olivares, 62, several relatives of the students are desperately waiting at the Ayotzinapa school for them to turn up, while classes have been suspended since they disappeared almost a year ago in the southern state of Guerrero.
“We hope that the boys will return at any moment,” Olivares said as she inserted a purple thread through a needle and sewed to fight off sadness while sitting outside.
Her grandson, 22-year-old Antonio Santana, was among the 43 young men who vanished after they went to the city of Iguala, some 125 kilometers (78 miles) north of Ayotzinapa, on September 26, 2014 to seize buses for a protest.
Prosecutors say crooked police officers attacked the buses and handed the students over to the Guerreros Unidos drug gang, which killed them and incinerated their bodies after confusing them with rivals.
The parents have refused to accept the official conclusion, holding out hope that their sons may still be found elsewhere, even though one was identified among charred remains and DNA tests showed a possible match for a second one.