We have been in Mexico City for a few days now. The climate agrees with us (it is much less humid than Tapachula and just the right temperature!). We’ve also been enjoying some thunder storms!
Our week in Mexico City began by discussing migration with Arturo, Casa de Los Amigos’ Program Coordinator. He challenged us to consider what migration is and why migration is happening in Mexico and Central America. After this discussion, we journeyed to a long-term migrant shelter and resource centre called Casa Tochan. We toured the facility and learned about the different resources Casa Tochan tries to provide for migrants. We listened to stories and thoughts from migrants staying at the shelter and shared lunch together.
I’ve been thinking about the question: “What is a migrant?” Arturo explained that the term “migrant” is often imposed on those who leave their home-countries to improve their families lives. They do not necessarily embrace this label or the connotations it carries. Migrants are often generalized as impoverished, job stealers, and illegals. They are often treated without dignity. Their previous identities no longer matter; they are considered “nobodies” by many. Whether they were well-educated, respected professionals, talented artists, or loved family members, they are now “migrants.” Strangers in the lands they are crossing or settling into. It is easy to enter a migrant shelter and see migrants. Strangers are strangers until we share time, meals, stories, experiences: then they become acquaintances or friends. As I reflect on our journey, I think this is part of the richness of this experience. As we spend time learning about migration and visiting with migrants, we begin to see “persons.” They are no longer simply statistics or ignorant misconceptions. These are people who have fled their homes due to violence, instability, and lack of opportunity. They have families and loved ones. They have hopes and dreams. We share the commonalities of humanity.
As we continue throughout this journey and beyond, I hope that we will be challenged to love our neighbours better; both those at home and those abroad.
Please continue to pray for the team as we continue to learn,