Laughter is Golden – Agua Prieta accompanier report

Tent alongside the border wall where migrants wait in “la linea.”

by Judy Aguayo, accompanier in Agua Prieta

On my second Monday, I loaded the PPF car with my belongings, and moved in with a gracious lady who offered me a room in her house.  Now, I am able to (and must) drive from home to and from the CRM. Since I don’t have a partner, I am more secluded and in my spare time, can feel a little isolated.  For future accompaniers who are not fluent in Spanish, it is a “wake up call” to be in the shoes of many immigrants who come to our country with little or no English. You feel quite lost and yearn for the companionship of someone who speaks your language.   You will come to see how difficult it can be for the stranger in a new city. Where do I find a restaurant or grocery store? You must get out and explore. If there are two, it is easier. If not, do it on your own.

Since I arrived on 10/7/19, there have been very few migrants “crossing”. Crossing means they have been called in for initial processing.  Only six in the first week. It has been very slow. In the past, they often took six a day! Here in Agua Prieta they have developed a “list” of names.  The first twenty on the list reside in a lean-to attached to the border fence and enclosed with blankets, tarps, etc for shelter and privacy. These 20 people live together in this shelter (approximately 3’ x 10’).  Currently, four of the residents are small children, which makes more room for adults. This shelter faces south, so gets the entire day of sun. In our temperatures, this is quite difficult. This is why they look forward to walking to the CRM for an hour or so where they can use the restrooms, have coffee, and relax a little.  One half may shower each afternoon. The children have puzzles, books, building toys, etc to play with while they’re there.

Our job is for protection, but also for interaction; trying to socialize with people can be difficult with a language difference, but not impossible.  There have been many instances which occur that will result in laughter among all.