This report comes from Diana Fried, Founder & Co-Executive Director, who just returned from Matamoros:
Just back from Matamoros, Mexico, an area where the bridge between the US and Mexico meets land. I was there in January and everything is completely different.
Where there were 10 or 20 people waiting to seek asylum then, now there are a thousand in tents cramped together on the bridge and in an area just off the bridge.
We walk from the comfortable world of the US that we live in, with our fresh clean clothes and just showered bodies, just 10 minutes, pay our $1.00 in quarters to cross, and all of a sudden we are worlds away in stench-filled garbage- filled camp with lovely people who are sad and happy and with their families and alone, cooking and cleaning and walking and trying to remember who they are such a long way from home in a foreign land simply trying to find a little bit of safety and a home.
It is rough beyond that 10 minutes from the US border.
The eight of us AWB team members are thrown into a completely different land and we lose track of ourselves as well for this temporary time. As we walk through the smoke-filled dusty path of the tent camp, trting not to step on garbage, we see the cobb ovens that the people have created by digging down to mud and then pulling it up and drying it so they have something to cook on. The ingenuity is amazing.
There are piles of stuff everywhere and kids running around. Women look exhausted and disheveled, some of them. Others look absolutely pristine with their makeup and smiles. It is hard to know what is going on.
We hear that 100 people crossed over the border last night. They have left all their stuff and some people are scrounging through piles and piles of things to find what maybe they can use.
We do our peaceful treatments and then we hear that for one man, he has not had a moment since he can remember where he hasn’t been thinking and worrying and fearing for the life of his son and himself. We watched him go very deep in the treatment and afterwards he told us that it was the only time he was thought free since this whole horrendous journey.
People are so grateful, so open and loving. Our hearts open too for this time. And our tears stream sometimes.
One of our team members sees a boy she had seen before. This time he will not accept any hugs, and he is totally withdrawn. He says he doesn’t hug anymore. Our team member is torn apart and wonders what happened to him during these months.
As we go back to the US, walking 10 minutes, one of the team members says to me this was a good day, this is how a day can be, this was a day of giving where we feel full from it. It is so simple when the exchange is like this.
Sweaty and dirty now, we go eat tacos and ice cream and laugh a lot together and once again I fall in love with these incredible people who come into the world of AWB to do this giving. It is a miracle.