My first stop in Mexico is in Ciudad Juarez, one of the hot-spots of the Mexican-US border. An average of one thousand people every day try to cross this border through one of the bridges connecting Juarez with El Paso, Texas. It’s been my first encounter with the infamous “wall”, that Trump built and claimed Mexicans would pay for. I spotted a few people trying to break through despite the heavy patrol of US police and Guardia Nacional. We then crossed one of the bridges. With the right kind of passport, it’s a pleasant 15-minute ride. With the wrong type of passport, it might take months to cover this short stretch of road heading to what is still considered the “land of opportunities”. I met a family of Venezuelans camping in Jacinta Park in El Paso city center who had crossed on foot the incredibly dangerous Selva del Darien to get here, with two young children. Darien is the natural border between southern and Central America, between Colombia and Panama. Thousands of people from all over the region attempt to cross it every day. Then they ride through Costa Rica and finally get into Mexico. Many jump on “la bestia”, a cargo train that crosses the country and arrives in Juarez. They spend a couple of days on the roof of the train risking injuries and death. Despite these huge numbers of people on the move, that station in Juarez for months, I got a good impression of this city. I found a welcoming community, fairly organized to offer aid to these brothers and sisters who, for many reasons, decide to risk it all to get across the border. Faith communities provide essential support to migrants. At the Cathedral we met a young Honduran mother who works now at the canteen, catering every day for hundreds of people. The stories of the women and children I met at Casa Eudes, the center supported by the Good Shepherd International Foundation, speak of deep fears, fatigue, hope, and dreams. They all cherished the warm, welcoming care of the Good Shepherd sisters and partners. They found a place for healing and rehabilitation, to gain the physical and spiritual strength needed to continue their journey.
Cristina Duranti, GSIF Director