Yourself in Others Shoes

Imagine, if you can, unable to walk out of your home because your hard-earned wages will be stolen by people on the street; or you are of an age sought by actors of corruption within the police force or street-gangs, and sometimes you can’t tell the difference. So you walk for two-to-three months with only a dream to keep you going.

Meet Jorge Joyal. He is 29 years old, from Honduras, and a father to a six-year-old daughter. Mr. Joyal said that he walked for two-to-three months with the hope of coming to the United States. The above exercise in imagination is his life story. While his dream to come to the United States has taken a detour, Mr. Joyal has been offered support and assistance by the Mexican government. He has applied for permission to work in Mexico and hopes to have employment at one of the high-tech companies offering employment assistance to refugees and asylum seekers. 

The entrance to El Barretal – the newly designated shelter for asylum-seekers, refugees at the US-Mexico southern border at Tijuana, Mexico. 

On Tuesday December 4th, 2018, DIF accounted for a total of 2,331 persons residing in the shelter designated for families with children. 

On Thursday December 6, 2018 acting New York Attorney General Underwood: “13 AG’s are filing an amicus brief today to challenge the Trump administration’s efforts to restrict applications by immigrants seeking asylum. This is a de-facto denial of asylum. It is illegal, it is inhumane, and it must end.”

Attorney General Underwood goes on to write: “More than 6000 Central American immigrants, including over 1000 kids, are stranded outside California’s ports of entry waiting to present their asylum claims. They are living outside in extreme weather, without access to basic services, so that they can have a chance at a better life.”

In support of the dream to have a better life, and in efforts to assuage the delay of dreams to a better life, a generous wave of individual community-minded people, in coordination with the Santa Barbara Response Network, DIF-Mexcio and Direct Relief of Santa Barbara, California delivered hygiene products – the basics of everyday life such as shampoo, body soap, antibiotic cream, first-aid, toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss.. Remember how you felt after not brushing or flossing 24-hours? Imagine for months.

In this newly sprouted village at our southern border at Tijuana, amid lives stranded, one can see signs of former life ritual in children and teens playing soccer, in adding color to hopes and dreams in large scale graphics, and in the power of listening in the peer-to-peer conversations. 

Overview of El Barretal. (pictured center) are Mariana Caña and Maritza Escobedo.

Mariana Caña and Maritza Escobedo are doing such work – listening.  They are listeners, rendering the power of the compassionate ear. Both Caña and Escobedo are students in Psychology at the UABC (The Autonomous University of Baja California ) Both Caña and Escobedo are student volunteers, conducting health questionnaires of the refugees in affiliation with the NYU School of Medicine, under the direction of Dr. Allen Keller. According to his bio: “Dr. Allen Keller is Associate Professor of Medicine at New York University School of Medicine, Director of the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture (PSOT) and Director of the NYU School of Medicine Center for Health and Human Rights.

 Perched overlooking El Barretal, Caña and Escobedo, listen and conduct their health questionnaires as volunteers for NYU school of medicine. 

 

Words and photographs copyright ©AnaElisaFuentes  

more photos or for contact info please go to the Visura Platform. 

Many heart felt congratulations to our Dreamers. Long May your dreams prevail.

Originally posted on December 18th, 2019

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