“Every day, 100 to 200 migrants are passing by here in Huehuetoca. That is a lot of people, and they often lack basic things like clothing or food.” —Luis Antonio Morales, Play for Peace Mexico
Huehuetoca, Mexico is a small municipality one hour north of Mexico City. If you wait long enough by the train tracks that run through the area, you may witness a long cargo train passing by, carrying products inside and people on top. Called “La Bestia,” the train crosses Mexico from south to north and is both the hope and downfall of many people fleeing violence and poverty in Central America to find a better life in the United States.
Half a million people, mainly from Central America, use this fast yet incredibly dangerous path toward the north. While jumping on top of a moving train with nothing to grab on to, many have lost limbs or even their lives by falling off the train. Every curve, every change of speed is a potential hazard, and thieves and drug cartels are a common threat along the journey. In the end, many abort the 1,400 mile long journey through Mexico, as they can’t withstand the constant fear, hunger, thirst, cold, and heat.
Alongside the train tracks a network of supporters has developed. In some villages, the women get called hours before the next train passes so they can prepare lunch bags with rice, beans, and tortillas, and more importantly, water. They never meet the people they are helping for more than a few seconds, which is how long it takes for the train to pass by.
In other communities there are “rest houses,” where migrants go to find food, shelter and a place to clean up, rest, and find clothing. Most rest houses exist because people bring donations. In Huehuetoca, at the rest house called the “Migrant House,” our Play for Peace club collected donations for the people who seek shelter and basic necessities there. The group traveled to Huehuetoca to donate sweaters, jackets, and condoms on behalf of the organization, Orgullo Ecatepec.
Luis Antonio Morales, a member of Play for Peace Mexico says that the local Huehuetoca community hasn’t responded adequately to the situation, mainly because there is a lack of news coverage about what has been happening. He says that while there is also a lot of poverty among the population of Huehuetoca, as a community and a society we need to support each other and care about each other’s well-being.
This short video is reflection on Play for Peace Mexico’s visit to the rest house in Huehuetoca. We are proud of the work our club is doing there, and that they will continue to support the migrants passing through in any way they can.