Today we set out for Douglas, Arizona. It was about a two hour drive through the desert. We drove through a town called Tombstone, where most Western movies are made. We then drove through an area that had a Copper Mine. When we got to Douglas we had lunch at a Café that supports a coffee organization called Café Justo (you’ll learn about that later). The food was really good as well. After lunch there was a presentation with the Mexican Consulate in Douglas and a tour of the Consulate office.
Next we went to Frontera de Cristo and had a presentation with them. They partner with many churches along the border and help migrants in various ways, they also have Micro Credit for people to start their own business. After the presentation we walked along the border that divides the United States from Mexico with Mark, a guide from Frontera de Cristo. Some of the stories that Mark told us about the wall were how people use seat belts to bring themselves over the wall. They use seat belts because they are easy to find in Agua Prieta (there is a seatbelt factory there) and they are stronger than rope. People often cut holes in the wall big enough for small trucks to fit through. The trucks that go through usually carry drugs. They have done many things to get drugs across the border. They use canons and catapults for bags and ramps for vehicles. The wall right across from town is double-walled for more security reasons. It was very interesting to see and hear about the wall. It also feels very different being on the U.S. side of the wall. It felt like you were looking into a cage with Mexico on the other side.
We then went for supper at the home of two retired Mennonite pastors, Jack and Lynda. Jack and Lynda still work heavily in the area of peace building along the wall, they even bought another house and called it Shalom House. The Shalom House is where people who come to visit and learn about the wall often stay. Sometimes they house migrants who are waiting to get papers. Once they also housed a Border Patrol Agent who was in training. The food was really good. Something that stuck out to me from what they were saying during supper was “we have to do the opposite of violence and the opposite of violence is not non-violence, but hospitality.” That is something that I have never really thought about before and I think that is going to stick with me for a long while.
More to come,