Caravans

As anyone who has not been asleep or otherwise oblivious to the news for the past six-or-so weeks knows, a caravan of migrants, men, women, and children, have fled their homes and families in Central America and are making their way, much of it on foot, through the vast length of Mexico in the hopes of reaching and finding asylum and employment in the United States. These people, thousands strong, have banded together (believing there is safety in numbers), fleeing the violence, corruption, and poverty in their home countries, propelled by their faith that a better life awaits them in the fabled Land of Opportunity.

I fear for them. Are they aware of the Trump-down cold-heartedness toward brown (to say nothing of black) people that only a (misguided) belief in white supremacy can engender? As these migrants-on-the-move pray to their statues of the Virgin of Guadalupe (which, I’m told, some of them carry in their back packs) to guide and protect them on their long and tortuous journey, I pray to the Great Spirit to prepare them for the challenges — and the newly installed razor wire — they’ll surely face at the U.S. border. I think we all should pray for this, to whomever we pray.

In the meantime, they and more caravan groups behind them, trudge northward, pushing strollers, carrying children too hungry and tired to walk another step, sometimes sleeping by the side of highway, sometimes hitching rides on passing vehicles, sometimes climbing on top of railway cars. If not for the kindness of strangers – generous Mexican communities and various volunteer humanitarian-aid workers — along the way, who’ve been providing food and water, clothing and shoes, light blankets and new back packs, these exhausted migrants would not have made it this far.

“This far,” for hundreds, if not thousands, of them is now the central mountains of Mexico, where I and many other American immigrants live. In recent weeks the good-hearted people of San Miguel de Allende, my new adopted home, have mobilized to help the migrants on their journey. I believe many of us, at least to some extent, can identify with them.

Not far from San Miguel de Allende, in Celaya, there is ABBA, a safe house and temporary hostel that provides the migrants with a short-term place to stay and some basic supplies to take with them on the rest of their journey.

According to a recent article in Atención, SMA’s weekly bilingual newspaper, “In the three years since it has been serving this community, ABBA has never received any government support and has survived thanks to the support of citizens and nonprofit organizations in both Celaya and San Miguel de Allende. One such organization is Caminamos Juntos [“we walk together”], a San Miguel NGO that collects monetary and in-kind donations throughout the year for refugees.” (To contact them, go to www.cjsma.org .)

My small donation of beans, rice, and dried milk for the migrants who stop at ABBA House

ABBA’s director, Ignacio Martinez, said, “What we want to do is make them [the migrants] feel welcomed … so they feel at home. Let’s be a little more human and less territorial. We are one race. Borders are created by men. Let us put ourselves in their [the migrants’] shoes.”

Already, hundreds of the caravan’s vanguard have traveled over 3,000 miles to reach the U.S.-Mexico border. One on-the-ground blogger in Tijuana posted on November 15th: “Tonight, tensions have been rising in Tijuana, as the U.S. military has built up on the other side of the fence; we can see them. There are also reports of pro-Trump armed militia groups moving around, and there has been a demonstration by some people of Playas de Tijuana [an affluent neighborhood by the beach] against the migrants. There’s a lot of anxiety about what will happen. The indications are not good. Will their [the migrants’] children be taken from them? Will there be violence?”

My hope is that in this upcoming Thanksgiving week, especially, those who are fortunate enough to have intact families who are able to gather together at a beautiful table for a bountiful Thanksgiving feast will give some serious thought to the complex concept of migration — the flow of humanity from one corner of the earth to another, for one reason or another, since mankind first walked upright on the African savannah. After all, the Pilgrims themselves were immigrants from Britain. And it’s said that the very first Native Americans, too, some 15,000-plus years ago, were immigrants from Eurasia, and they likely walked, as a caravan.

~ ~ ~

Please see my previous post on the subject: “Human Flow,” posted August 11, 2018.

Also, if you can do nothing else, please simply click the link below and sign the petition to tell the United Nations to send observers to witness, document and report on human rights violations at the U.S.–Mexico border. This, I believe, is the least we can do to help protect the people in the migrant caravans from further hardship. Thank you. And Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

https://act.credoaction.com/sign/un_immigration?t=7&akid=30641%2E1969099%2EGSyRny

12 thoughts on “Caravans”

  1. Thank you, Bonnie, for this important message. Petition signed! I admire your moral compass, as always, especially when most are figuring out what sides to prepare while trying to find the perfect turkey recipe! We take SO much for granted. Giving thanks has never meant as much. I love you.

  2. To apply for asylum one needs to be on US soil, so in answer to the questions, no they cannot go to the embassy or consult in their home country. They need to cross that border and it is looking like a long wait as the crossing in Tijuana is only processing 40 to 100 people a day depending on sources. So, a humanitarian crises is building on the Mexico side.

    If you would like to see some photos of the safe house Bonnie wrote about their Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/ABBA-AC-cciapm-1609525309309695/.

    If you’d like to see some up to date news articles from various sources check out https://www.facebook.com/migrantreliefproject/?ref=br_rs.

    80% of the migrants are escaping from horror stories most of us will not experience in our life times and are just looking for a safe place to live, work and raise their children. They do not consider Mexico a good option because Mexico is still a Third World country itself and also suffers gang violence and corruption.

    My grass roots efforts, ‘The Train Track Migrant Relief Project’, has been distributing humanitarian aid for a few years to the migrants we find wandering around town looking for help. Things like a new pair of socks, a bottle of water and an energy bar prompts more thank yous and blessings then we rightly deserve. They wish us ‘Que Dios te bendiga’. I pass it forward to you. May God bless you.

    Donations can be made to a number of GoFundMe pages or directly to the ABBA Safe House through Transferwise. Contact me for bank information and the multiple other sites at roberts_toni@yahoo.com. I’m also happy to answer questions.

  3. While many of us have read articles about the migrants, your piece really provided most impactful pictures of the caravan. The children….The people carrying Guadalupes in their back pockets….Your offering of beans and rice. These are the images that went straight to my heart. Clearly, you wrote straight from your heart. As always.

  4. Dear Bon,

    There are many in America who feel as you do. The evil rhetoric is aimed at a minority group of white supremacists. Unfortunately, those in power hope that enough people will either look the other way or not be paying attention.
    What makes it even more despicable is that the powerful is manipulating this minority group and playing on their fears in order to enact authoritarian policies.

    Thanks for alerting me. I just signed the petition.

    Much love,
    Paul

  5. Bless you, Bonnie dear. Imagine how we Americans feel when the man who is supposed to be our president has such loathing for basic human rights. We the people must make amends. I’ll make a donation to ABBA, sign the petition, and hope that others will, too.

    1. Thank YOU, Kim! I know that WOW readers will appreciate reading about your on-the-ground experiences aiding the migrants. Best wishes to you in your efforts to help them in Tijuana.

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