In my first week in Mexico, I have already gotten the opportunity to attend a number of cultural events hosted by a network of organizations working for migrants rights in Mexico City. The abundance of social, artistic, and educational opportunities for transitional migrant communities are offered to encourage psychological well being, artistic expression and social stimulation in addition to the physical security that the various migrant shelters provide. Given the types of violent, unstable and turbulent situations which these people experience either as the impulse for migration or part of the migration process itself (especially for those coming from Central/South America), fostering this type of active community can be vital to their overall stability once in Mexico City.
Last night a series of plays were performed at Refugio Cafemin around the themes of exile and migration. Although Cafemin is currently experiencing an influx of migrants from Africa, especially the Congo, most of the scenes focused on Latin American migration. Each scene was based around a confrontation between undocumented person/citizen, “foreigner”/”native.” They engaged topics such as political violence as cause for migration, reception of foreigners, xenophobia, and the psychological effects of displacement.
This scene depicts the confrontation between a Chilean policeman in Switzerland and two South American migrants fleeing dictatorship. The attempt to reconcile their common origins is fraught with resentment, anger and misunderstanding.
Refugio Cafemin is a shelter for female migrants and includes classrooms, a library, a theater, a bakery and lodging for migrants. Overall an impressive facility and organization– there will be plenty more to discuss with their regard to their programs in the coming months!