I did find hope in all of this.
I found it in a boy named H. He is 16 and from Central America. He was in the shelter with three siblings and his mother, who had given birth to the youngest a few days before. He fled violence in Honduras three years ago. Went to Guatemala and then Mexico. They fled Mexico after his mother witnessed two murders and was threatened yet again. He had to drop out of school after they left Honduras and started working at 13. He didn’t have educational documents from Honduras that would allow him to study in either Guatemala or Mexico and they needed the money.
This 16-year-old had ever reason in the world to be a jerk. He wasn’t. He was so kind in the way he cared for his siblings. He entertained himself with a book on learning English and watching evangelical rap videos. He told me that he really liked a sign in the volunteer office that read, “Don’t limit your challenges. Challenge your limits.” It inspired him. He thought that it would be difficult to go back to school after working for the last three years. But already in the shelter he was trying to teach himself. He was such a decent human being. God, I pray that he makes it. He deserves a better life.
This border experience reaffirmed something I believe. Life is about showing up. I didn’t do anything special this week, but I did show up and I am taking away experiences that changed me. People have thanked me for doing this. Don’t. It feels obscene to be thanked when after my shift I went out to dinner or walked on the beach.
Here’s my challenge to you. In your own way, think about what it means to show up and do something. Please be an advocate for more humane immigration policy and vote in the next election.
Lastly, if you want to make a financial contribution to either group I worked with this week, here is their information:
San Diego Rapid Response Network website – http://www.rapidresponsesd.org/
To volunteer with the SDRRN email – firstname.lastname@example.org
SDRRN Wish List – https://amzn.to/2yoQM7Z
El Otro Lado website – https://alotrolado.org/
To volunteer at Al Otro Lado – bit.ly/AlOtroLadoTijuanaTrips
Al Otro Lado Wish List – http://bit.ly/AlOtroLadoWishlist
Come back later in August for installments from the Mexico/Guatemala border.
P.S. If you ever volunteer at a shelter bring bubbles. Universal appeal.