As I sat down this morning to write about how peaceful the last couple of days here have felt, Mara rushed in from her morning run. “Kate! Have you seen all the roads blocked off around the monument? There are buses everywhere!” I laughed at the irony of being in the midst of a blog post about serenity.
It was a message from the city (El monstruo, if you will) reminding me of the unending barrage of movement, tragedy and unrest just outside the walls of our peaceful community. To be fair, it feels peaceful here because it is the environment created by decades of dedicated volunteers, workers, guests, etc. And it does not exist despite the tides of chaos that ebb and flow with each hour, but as a refuge and response to that very condition of our present moment, which gives our work meaning and makes this place so very special. The Casa makes it its mission to maintain an environment that lives its values, regardless of what the world shoves through our front door, drops on our roof, rockets through our windows. And it is important for those who come here to share in our sense of refuge and receive our hospitality when peace may be harder to find in other parts of Mexico. (The story of the migrants killed by “the Beast,” the cargo train that carries roughly a thousand migrants through Mexico each day, the exploitative mining practices going on in Chiapas, the tangled knot of Mexican politics, and an unending list of injustices that require urgent, dignified response all come to mind. How do we begin to face those things? As an individual? As the Casa? As a society? These are the questions surging forward as I take a deeper look at where I am and what I’m doing here. We may house up to five migrants in the Casa, but the other thousands? Where do they go? Where will they sleep tonight?
It’s a good time to reflect on all that is happening in Mexico outside of our Casa bubble, especially as a reminder that there are no quiet days here. I’ve started taking bike rides as a practice of social consciousness while in the city, as an opportunity to hear new voices, see unfamiliar faces, to take unexpected detours.
As the days progress during the “Summer” here, the sky evolves from bright blue at breakfast, to dull smog, to intense gray, to a dark rain. By the time the rain comes today, I will be around a table of 20+ Casa volunteers, staff, friends, and guests, holding hands in silent prayer for our quiet house and the sustenance we have been provided, and in turn provide to others.