We (Bonifaz and Jordi) are in the first stop in the U.S.: Tucson, Arizona. We are working at the Southside Presbyterian Centre, which is a church and also a meeting place for different pro-migrant and human rights organizations. It is also the place where day-laborers meet. We were lucky enough to share a workshop with them and some of them participated in the Tucson adaptation of the Irse play that performed last Saturday at 7pm.
Before getting to Tucson we had a great stay in Ciudad Juárez where we also led a workshop .
We will soon be sharing these experiences on the blog, but first we will give some attention to what we left behind: Mexico. We present a summary of experiences, thoughts and information written by Guillermo, who, after Saltillo, Coahuila went southbound, according to plan:
Tapachula – first stop in Mexico
This is the beginning of our traveling
It is but the entrance to a whole country to cross
On Monday 24 we crossed the border into Mexico.
Guillermo Santillana from Armadillo and Jorge Díaz (the fourth traveler) met the other travelers in Tapachula, Chiapas.
During two days the special version of Irse was prepared in the building of Alianza Francesa Tapachula. We worked with young local people, that were included in the play as a special invited cast.
The play was presented on Wednesday the 26th at 7pm.
Irse – Tapachula
Cast: Susana Ríos, Victor Eduardo Briones, Mariana López, Frank Vásquez, Gabriela Guzmán, Ricardo Arellano, Franco Gálvez, Karla Arguello, Gisel Chang, Pedro Velásquez, Jordi Möllering, Bonifáz Díaz and Guillermo Santillana
Thanks to all our invited actors and to Jérome Grefford, director of Alianza Francesa, Tapachula.
It is time
A long road lies ahead
Borders, traveling to the subconscious, absence, distance, silence…
The next stop is the migrant shelter Hogar de la misericordia in Arriaga. The first real encounter with the train in a very important place; where it parts.
The migrants stay along the tracks for hours. La bestia (the beast) growls every now and then and this is the signal; to run and climb, and continue traveling northbound.
In the migrant shelter we shared a new workshop with elements of theatre, yoga, relaxation and games.
Thanks to Heyman Vázquez, personell and volunteers of the Arriaga migrant shelters.
Ixtepec – All migrants
We reach the city of Ixtepec, in Oaxaca state.
This small city is the meeting point between the Paciifc Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, and of a migration flow from the south, consisting of mostly Central Americans. The majority of the travelers arrive on the freight train, arriving from Chiapas; from Arriaga to Ixtepec the trip takes about 12 to 14 hours.
Our destiny in Ixtepec is the migrant shelter Hermanos en el camino, situated next to the train tracks.
The reality and the stories that we hear reflect how rough the road is. Mistrust, worries, extreme fatigue exist among the people that stay at the shelter.
Although the atmosphere is tense, many people were willing to participate in the theatre workshop. The exercises made the atmosphere a little lighter; causing smiles, embraces and a time and moment to share.
In Ixtepec we also meet several travelers that we had seen in Arriaga and that arrived after many hours of traveling by night.
Throughout the day the heat is intense, and at night the mosquitos don’t allow much time to rest. We all get ready to keep on traveling.
Thanks to Alejandro Solalinde, personell and volunteers of the Hermanos en el camino shelter.
Coatzacoalcos – Light for the road
The rythm of the Central American migrant’s life is indicated by the train. And you never know when it leaves nor how long it will take. And you will never be able to prepare for the dangers.
The next stop on our itinerary is the city of Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz state. It is one of the important spots on the migrant route. Hundreds of people reach this city to wait for the next train
On Tuesday October 2nd we lead a workshop under the bridge of Avenida uno. More than 300 people where present, waiting for the train, and more than 50 of them participated in the workshop that was also attended by the media.
The play in Coatzacoalcos was present the 3rd of October and was seen by more than 200 migrants. It was presented un the bridge, and on the train tracks. La bestia itself drove past during the play.
We got to work with a talented temporary invited cast; two Salvadorean and two Honduran migrants, and two locals from Veracruz. Before the presentation we spent some hours of intense rehearsal, while hundreds of curious persons watched us.
It was a unique experience of creation, exchange and sharing.
Irse – Coatzacoalcos
Cast: Viviana Zavala, Yuyaa Lara, José Luis Reyes, Luis Miguel López, Remberto de Asís, José Jiménez, Jorge Díaz, Jordi Möllering, Bonifaz Díaz y Guillermo Santillana
Thanks to Diana Hernández, and to Casa de María
Córdoba and Amatlán de Los Reyes – Patronas on the way
At night, it is difficult to sleep, feelings, stories, keep on repeating in the subconsious
A sentence comes up:
I hope there are more Patronas on the way
Thursday 4th of October we leave from Coatzacoalcos to Córdoba. After almost a day of traveling we reach the city, but our destiny is a little bit further south; in the village of Amatlán de los Reyes, in a neighbourhood called “La Patrona”.
The freight trains going northbound pass through this neighborhood.
A group of women known as Las Patronas, do something very simple but miraculous: they offer water, food and medicine to those traveling on the trains: Central Americans, on their way to the U.S.
On of the most generous moments of this trip towards the north has been staying with these wonderful women, to have listened to the many stories they told us, paused every know and then by the sounds of the train.
We are very thankful for having been invited to the house of Las Patronas.
Mexico City and State
We are leaving the coast behind
Snowy peaks appear between the clouds; silent witnesses of the long road
While we admire the mountains, our traveling friends are freezing while trying not to fall of the train.
What’s the use of admiring mountains now?
In Huehuetoca, Mexico State, we meet some of the people we had met in Coatzacoalcos. Also we saw Doña Marivel again, a woman that we met in Ixtepec and that participated actively in the play. It was great to meet everyone again.
On October 8 we present Irse at the Ibero University. This university paid for our stay in Mexico City and State. We present the play, with almost the same cast as in Coatzacoalcos!
Irse – Mexico City
Cast: José Luis Reyes, Luis Miguel López, Remberto de Asís, Jorge Díaz, Jordi Möllering, Bonifaz Díaz y Guillermo Santillana
Thanks to Lorena Rodríguez, Cristóbal Sánchez, Colectivo Cultura Migrante and Universidad Iberoamericana.
Guadalajara – Paso Libre
The permission for those who have no permit. The desire to be able to move freely, with dignity, for all.
Our trip to Guadalajara from Mexico City takes a whole night.
Freight trains cross the city, that is a stop in the east on one of the longest and most tiring routes northbound. A route without many shelters and organizations that support migrants. Also the route ends in the states where the border wall has been or is being constructed or where hundreds of kilometers of desert await them.
We were hosted by Eduardo Villalpando, theatre director and actor, a friend and collaborator of the project. Also, the organization FM4 Paso libre, dedicated to supporting migrants has invited us to present the play.
On Saturday October 13 a night of modern dance, theatre and migration is prepared at Laboratorio Sensoria. Organized by FM4 Paso Libre and seen by the many people that arrived that night. Artzénico and Armadillo present a new version of the play Irse, with several local participants. We shared the stage with the local modern dance group Raíces that presented the piece Historias que migran.
Irse – Guadalajara
Cast: Laura Isabel Alcázar, Lupita Foronda, Germán Ríos, Santiago Aguilar, Mónica Salmón, Jordi Möllering, Bonifaz Díaz y Guillermo Santillana
Thanks to Eduardo Villalpando, Mónica Salmón, Fernando Valencia and the volunteers of FM4 Paso Libre.
Saltillo – Tense Calmness
Every song will remain hidden in the deafening scream of hundreds of thousand voices of those who flee, hidden along the way. – Edu Ponces
At October 16 we arrive to Saltillo, in the border state of Coahuila. One of the last stops in Mexican territory.
We left Guatemala almost a month ago, although we all feel like it has been more. The trains screech at any time, day or night, in dreams and nightmares. The iron ghost doesn’t rest and a tense calmness dominates the streets.
We were hosted by Casa del Migrante de Saltillo, the migrant shelter that also organized the workshop we shared with migrants, and the last presentation of Irse in Mexico.
Eleven Honduran and Nicaraguan migrants participated as invited actors in the play that was presented at Casa del Artesano in the centre of the city.
Irse – Saltillo
Cast: Mario Otoniel Amador, Herson Calix, Orvin Matute, Franklin Chamorro, Arnold Velásquez, Kevin Medina, Alcides Johnson, Ventura Campos, Jorge Nuñez, Ricardo Lara, José Reyes, Jordi Möllering, Bonifaz Díaz y Guillermo Santillana
Thanks to José Luis Manzo, Lupita Argüello, father Pedro Pantoja and the inhabitants of Casa del Migrante Saltillo.