The pilgrims outside the Kino Border Initiative's commeador in Nogales, Sonora, where we helped to serve dinner to 80 men, women, and children migrants.
Quote of the day: "We serve beans and rice and Jesus Christ." (Ben Wenke, Executive Director, Nogales Rescue Mission)
Today gave us plenty of opportunities to practice flexibility, grace, and fortitude--and it turned out to be a great day, just not the great day we had planned.
We started by waking up at 4:15 am for a hike on a portion of the migrant trail with Ricky. Already some of us weren’t feeling well and stayed back reluctantly. However, when we reached the trail head there were large streams of water coming down the trail, and we couldn’t even drive up to the start of the hike. It is monsoon season, afterall, and heavy rains in the mountain turned the little gully into a rushing stream. We returned to the hotel by 6 am and more of us were beginning to feel the effects of the minor but hugely annoying lower GI thing that seems to have joined our group. We called Deacon Rodger from St. Andrew's to see if he had ideas for us. While an alternative itinerary was developed, went back to lie down for a few hours and attempted to nap (some were successful, others not so much).
Then at 9 am Roger took us to the the Santa Cruz Training Program, which is a day-home for people with developmental disabilities. Roger’s wife Irma is the director of the center, and the center was full of love and joy and color. There are many different, fun rooms there, where the clients can spend time relaxing, mingling, exercising, eating and dancing. Right next door is the work center which provides jobs for disabled people in its bakery and café and its garden and landscaping business. Melinda gave us a tour of the grounds and we later bought empanadas from the bakery. (None of us wasup for eating an empanada at that particular moment, but they smelled delightful so we bought some for later.)
Next we went to the CrossRoads Rescue Mission, a member of the international Gospel Rescue Mission network. The Nogales, AZ center provides food, shelter, and counseling as well as spiritual encouragement for people in need. After that the unpleasantness in our bellies continued to rumble, so we returned to the hotel for a couple hours of siesta time resting before we toughed it out to volunteer at Kino Border Initiative’s Comeador (Soup kitchen) right over the Mexican border, which we walked over. We served food and drink, and talked with the migrants there, which was very rewarding. We worked alongside a group of Kino Teens from Loyola High School in Los Angeles, who were also volunteering.
Overall, despite our health issues we all pulled together and had a positive, while chaotic, day. We are mostly feeling better now at the end of the day and are saying prayers that whatever bug went around will soon be completely out of our systems.