Ursuline Sister Jacinta Powers has now spent a month serving in a clinic for refugees on the Mexico-America border who are awaiting asylum hearings. On Feb. 11, 2020, she wrote about the children making their temporary home in Matamoros, Mexico.
“Throughout the camp one can ALWAYS see children playing. In this picture is a little girl with her ingeniously built wagon carrying her needed items from one place to another. Or one can hear children’s voices at play around the clinic. Children chase each other and once caught they may squeal with laughter.
“One of the small shelters constructed at the clinic is a safe place for the children to play. A woman who is a refugee is the ‘teacher’ for the children each day. She has ‘constructed’ play which provides a safe place for the children.
“How can children be so joyful in such a situation? One may say that it is normal for children to be joyful and play, which may be right. However, when I worked in Haiti a month after the 2010 earthquake, I saw children who were not displaying joy or playfulness due to the trauma they experienced and the fear they held deep in their hearts. So, after all the children have experienced before they arrived here and continue to experience daily, how can they demonstrate the normal display of playful children?
“I credit a lot to the faith of the parents. They are instilling a sense of safety in their children throughout the entire process of migrating here and continuing to live under such dire circumstances. The people have a deep faith and undying hope to have a better life for themselves, but more importantly, they do it for their children.”