Needs in Agua Prieta go beyond migrants

Amidst a community trying to respond to the needs of migrants, local women are also searching for respite from domestic abuse
A woman from the Migrant Resource Centre holds up a sign for International Women's Day that reads in Spanish "we are the cries of those who are no longer here" as part of a campaign for 8 March.

The busiest time of day at the Migrant Resource Centre (CRM) in Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico is in the afternoon, when people waiting to request asylum across from the US Port of Entry come to the CRM to eat lunch, take a bath, ask for a new pair of socks, let their children safely play, or just sit in the shade for a while. 

One afternoon several weeks ago amidst all this activity, a woman walked into the centre visibly upset and carrying a child who was maybe three years old. She just stood there for a while but never said a word. When a volunteer asked her if she needed anything, the woman began to cry and asked, “Could you please help me?” Her husband was beating her and she needed to get away and keep her children safe. As her story continued, it turns out that she was not a migrant. She was not waiting to seek asylum in the US. She was someone living in Agua Prieta who needed help and saw the CRM as a place that helped people. The tragic part of this story is that the CRM provides assistance only to migrants, people in transit. She could not stay at the shelter because she was not a migrant, and there were no resources from the city she could receive.  The volunteer offered her food and water. “No,” she responded, “Could I just sit here for a little while?’’ After about 30 minutes, with her sleeping child still in her arms, she got up and said to the volunteer that she understood that she could not receive any other help.  “But, thank you, anyway.” All the volunteer could do was give her a hug and wish her well. Maybe, just for a few minutes, the warmth of human contact gave her some comfort.

This is the story of one particular woman, but she could be any one of millions of vulnerable women around the world who live precarious lives and are subject to abuse, hunger, isolation, kidnapping, and death.  

O God, we pray that you bless, shelter, and love the bodies of all women – 

  • Women who are too poor, too uneducated, too dark, too careless, too young, too old, too hungry, too scared, too weak
  • Women who are walking the desert, walking in the streets, or running away
  • Women whose bodies do not reflect their gender
  • Women who are too pretty or not pretty enough, women who are too loud or too ungrateful, women who are too smart or not smart enough, women who are all alone
  • Women who are burdened with too many responsibilities
  • Women who have lost all hope

Loving and merciful God, bring your kin-dom now and guide us through the wilderness, protect us through the storm. Grant us all courage, love, and peace.

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