Recently I had the opportunity to volunteer at the U.S./Mexico border in El Paso, TX at La Casa de Refugiado - House of Refuge. The Casa is not really a house but is a refurbished factory rented by Ruben Garcia, founder of Annunciation House, to receive the hundreds of people released from detention by ICE and needing shelter as they prepare to travel to their sponsors in many different parts of our country.
A few times a day, ICE delivers a busload of people, mainly families with young children, who have been in detention, some for up to two months. They arrive tired and frightened, not knowing what kind of treatment to expect. What a privilege to be the first U.S. citizens to smile and say welcome; help them contact their families; provide soap and shampoo and towels for their first shower in a long time; invite them to choose a set of clean clothes; provide the children with a playroom full of toys, art supplies, and balls to play soccer; provide hot, nourishing meals prepared by the Salvation Army; offer them a place of rest in the huge dormitory filled with Red Cross cots. The Casa can’t provide lovely accommodations, but it is a place of hospitality for our brothers and sisters whose home countries have become dangerous and unwelcoming.
The Casa is a place full of life and pressing need, joyful anticipation and fearful apprehension. It is a microcosm of the world where we plainly see that we are one human family, dependent on each other to survive and thrive.
Where is the “borderland” where you are called to offer hospitality?
Erica Jordan, OP