We started our day by walking across the bridge over the canal to make our way to the migrant shelter and food kitchen. Looking over the edge, we could see the mass amounts of trash and groups of people huddled together in the underpasses of the canal. The underpass of the canal gave us a new perspective on the living conditions of many deported people who were homeless after losing all of their money and personal belongings. It felt like I was looking into a home filled with a family that shared nothing but a tight space and a common experience. These people might not have any personal relations but rather a bond that gave them a sense of belonging in a place where others told them they weren’t wanted.
After making it to the migrant shelter, we were put to work doing different tasks to get ready to serve meals to some of the most vulnerable people in Tijuana. We put out cups of water and plates of foods on the 21 tables in the room. The line outside of the shelter continued down the street filled with many patient people waiting for their turn to eat a meal. The shelter serves 6 meals per week to around 1,000 people a day for around 2 ½ hours. When walking around to fill up water cups Emma Kate and I had the chance to meet many people that were going through different experiences related to their migration status. One particularly kind man shared how he had been deported after not turning in his paperwork even though he had it done for 48 years. He said that he regrets it because his father had tried to push him to turn them in and he never did. He explained that after being deported he fell into a hole of drug use but was working to get back on his feet. He was now trying to help others not fall into drugs and other substances and get back to the U.S to see his family and loved ones. He was a man that believed in himself and his ability to get back to the U.S and wished us luck on all of our future endeavors. There were many people in the shelter that were just like this kind man. They were all very grateful for us serving what could be their only meal of the day and were hopeful of the future.