We have been extremely busy responding to at least 150 migrants who are expelled daily into our sister city, Agua Prieta in Sonora, Mexico. I arrive at our migrant center in Agua Prieta at 2 a.m. to welcome and offer warm food, coffee, clothing, simple medical care and an open heart to these women and men. We have volunteers around the clock, since the U.S. Border Patrol is returning people to Mexico at all hours of the night and day (mostly at night…exhausted, hungry and far from home).
I have been working with migrants for many years and I have never before seen such vulnerable people. Many arrive with very blistered feet, no longer able to walk. All are traumatized because of the three to five (or more) day walk through the mountains before they are detained by the border patrol. Generally, the women and men walk their last days in the mountain without food or water. One of the deepest traumas for them is when they encounter the dead bodies of persons and are not able to respond to this incredible tragedy. Instead, they are forced to continue their journey, knowing if they stop they also will die. I have never seen so many grown men cry in my life.
We recently had a group of five volunteers from Ohio who offered their services to help us respond to this overwhelming suffering. We were honored to have a medical doctor, a nutritionist and three trauma psychologists. They were exceptional and none of us will be the same after their 10-day mission.
We are grateful for any assistance—the need is great. May God continue to bless us with a heart for the poor.
~Sister Judy Bourg, SSND
Below: Volunteer health professionals treat the feet of migrants at the U.S. border with Mexico: