The Honduran diaspora is the first wave of many to come. Right now there are some 3,000 plus asylum seekers, now refugees, in a camp near the border in Tijuana. It’s filthy and lovely. Lots of small children, young people, mothers, fathers and others seizing the opportunity to get into the states.
I live streamed a 17-year-old woman, 7 months pregnant and 14 year-old boy who both say they aren’t afraid to face American Immigration officials. They both say they don’t mind sleeping in the dirt without enough food, filthy toilets and outdoor showers. I wonder what their lives we like in Honduras. I wonder if they understand that U.S. foreign policy has its imprint in each and every diaspora from Latin America.
The one month and 23 day journey from Honduras got traction and some busses, doubing it’s speed before I before I caught up with them in a parking lot south of Guadalajara. Some kids at a gas station, one a gas jockey the other a falconer said they would be delighted to jump in the car and find the Hondurans with me. It was of many acts of kindness that have unfolded on the journey. The less people have, it seems the more they are willing to share. Not a ploy, not a manipulation, it’s something I’ve never experienced in my 60 years.
The sun was setting in the parking lot when we spotted the 8 busses. The falconer and gas jockey said good bye as 50 men surrounded me. They wanted to know who I was and what I wanted, so told them the truth as one of them roughly translated; I was there to live stream unedited. They weren’t convinced yet. While they were thinking it over, one guy asked where I was from, if I had any children and a wife. I told them I was moving back to Los Angeles, but didn’t really live anywhere. I told them. I didn’t have and children as for a wife, I put my arm around a hulking 240-pound Honduran man standing next to me and said, “only her”. A calculated risk, they all started yelling, laughing and one at a time, shook my hand welcomed me to the caravan.
On the bus, it was me and young asylum seekers sardine canned into an old used up school bus that raced north with a vengeance with a police escort, stopping for gas and bathroom breaks. The escort wasn’t for protection. They wanted the diaspora out of Sinaloa as soon as possible.
There wasn’t an inch to spare, people slept on the floor… anywhere.
Chino, Wilmer and others with gave me food, water, cigarettes… whatever they had to share. Told me their stories. A 20-year-old guy named Edri Denilson put a blanket on me when it got cold during the night ride. Like everyone else, he didn’t ask me for anything. I droped my new iPhone while I was sleeping. Chino woke me up to give me phone.
The camp in TJ is political theatre by local government. Fake food and medical supplies, staged activities with clean children who weren’t staying in the camp, all the while Tijuana police, Federal cops almost invisible. The marching orders were obvious; let take advantage of this opportunity to rebrand Mexico.
Some Tijuana residents are not happy to have these travelers in their city since Trump threated to close the border, which would cripple the city where residents work on the other side. But the protest against to aslyum seeker today was a dud. A no show.
Now four days in the camp, rumors of another 20,000 people headed to US border from Latin America. This is now a movement. I’ll be here, making new friends and telling their stories.
Who paid for the buses and kick down a few coins for these people? George Sorous and American Express are on the record makeing big donations. Possibly like Black Lives Matter in Ferguson to keep Monsanto (Bayer) out of the news feed amoung other reasons.
Septic, toxic chaotic, “caravan cough” has everyone hacking up phlegm and the future is anything but certain. I don’t know these people are so happy to be here, but they are.
I inadvertently live streamed a kidnapping and man dying in the street just outside the compound day before yesterday. People said he was diabetic and didn’t have his medicine. 30 something, he died in the street as everyone looked on.
The youngsters are going back to the beach today. Yesterday the locals threw rocks at them. The youngest of the group, Wilmer, 14 years old is very concerned about the new from people from the Lawyers Guild West and others who showed up yesterday; they will be separating unaccompanied minors and taking them to a local shelter run by an NGO, but mostly he’s really excited to go back to the beach today; rocks and all.
*I’m connecting to everyone I can on Facebook and Instagram. I’ll be following thier progress as they navigate immigration and keeping track of them all.