The passport. Something that most of Europeans take for granted. But once you look outside the box you realize how privileged we actually are of having this small notebook and additionally one that allows us to travel nearly everywhere in the world. How many people can actually visit all the countries in the world?
Our friend, “mind of a hitchhiker” did an interesting research about that. Have a look: https://mindofahitchhiker.com/how-many-people-can-visit-all-countries-earth/
There are many places in the world where people can’t afford their passport or are refused by their governments to have one.
Through Southern Mexico there is a route taken by people from Central America to reach USA.
People are fleeing community-level violence, which is often personal and direct. They face real and specific threats from street gangs, extortionists, drug traffickers, and from domestic abuse, and so may be potential targets if returned. In many poor and marginalized communities in all the countries of the “northern triangle” (Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador), women and children are victims of extortion, abuse, rape, murder, and gang-related violence. In many of these communities, citizens face explicit threats on their lives for reasons that may include bearing witness to a crime, attempting to leave a gang, or failing to pay an extortion fee or war tax.
The scale of the migration is really big.
In 2016, nearly 60,000 unaccompanied children and nearly 78,000 people who crossed as families—generally, mothers with young children—were apprehended at the U.S. southern border.
Having this knowledge I feel obliged to help rather than just use my white privileged position and enjoy holidays in the most beautiful places on the planet.
There are migration centers spread in some places along the migration route that provides a safe shelter, food, water, medical help – covering basic human needs.
We stopped in one of them, “Hermanos en el Camino” in Ixtepec to volunteer for two weeks. It was a difficult experience, but very needed. It was like coming out of your beautiful world realizing that there is so much negativity, hostility, hatred out there. I mean you know it is there, but never before it slapped me in the face so directly.
People decide to leave their country walking for weeks under the burning sun, they train hop “la Bestia”, a cargo train, known for its high rate of people falling, losing their limbs and even dying. There are certain police control points along the route and ways to go around them. What happens is that organized criminal groups are spread all around the “beltways” of the control points, waiting for their victims to pass by. Migrants are robbed, beaten up, mistreated. It is terrible.
And why is it happening? For a handful of dollars? All these difficulties and life traumas only because someone wants to have a normal life, without being scared that their kids are going to be involved in the narco traffic, have their faces tattooed as a sign of belonging to local mafia, where woman are raped and life itself has no value. These are regular practices in El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala – some statistics say the most dangerous countries in the world where there is no war.
It was difficult to be there. You need to connect strongly to your inner values, help without expecting anything in return, be patient, attentive and know why you do that.
Unexpectedly I had a chance to cooperate with the medics and give my hand as a physiotherapist. There were lots of problems, which let’s say were not of a priority for the doctors (no life endangering). Dehydration, muscle crumbs, feet infections, body pain from long distance walking in very hot conditions (often with bad shoes), traumas, general exposition to high stress which execute itself in the musculoskeletal system. The language was a barrier but we coped with it somehow.
There was a lot to do: being in the office to register newcomers and pick up the phones, helping with cooking, organizing activities, opening library and ‘cyber area’, baking bread and cookies with migrants, or giving a hand in the general maintenance and ongoing building projects (carpentry, chicken house).
We stayed there two weeks. Maybe it is not so long, but I feel it was an eye-opening and important experience.
Do you want to volunteer? Go and give a hand!