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La Esmeralda

Sunday, March 2

Now that a few days have passed from the time spent in La Esmeralda, a lot of things have been in the back of my mind.

First of all, I was just overwhelmed with the people's willingness and kindness to the group over those two days. Everyone expressed how happy they were to have us be there and made sure that we felt welcome. It was really quite touching to me.

I've also been thinking about what one of the speakers told us about his experience of being a refugee and hiding during the war. When we went on our hike to the cave, we walked through quite a bit of brush and jungle. The man had said that some people lived for 15 years in the forest. As we passed through, Jen [the MCC worker] reminded us of that and I guess it really hit me. I have no idea what it would be like running for my life. On top of that, living in the buggy, itchy landscape with hardly any shelter or clothing. I mean, it's not just like these people were forced to move from where they had been living. These people were forced to leave their community, home, and everything that was familiar to them and live everyday in fear. I just can't imagine.

Another thing that was already mentioned is the community's appreciation of the Mexican people. This is not what I had been hearing in the capital, so it was a new concept for me. I think the kindness and acceptance the Mexicans showed during the war has really made the people of La Esmeralda more giving themselves.

--Kristin Short

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