Migrants rest Thursday in Pijijiapan, Mexico, where the caravan has met with an outpouring of help from residents, 26 October 2018. Photo: Rebecca Blackwell / AP

By Joshua Partlow
26 October 2018

PIJIJIAPAN, Mexico – Everything Pedro Osmin Ulloa was wearing, from the black felt shoes with the gold buckles to the shimmery blue button-down, was as new to him as he was to Mexico.

The 30-year-old Honduran corn farmer and dogged sojourner in the migrant caravan was dressed head-to-toe in donated clothes. His 3-year-old son, Alexander, played with donated toys. And the rest of the family — his wife, his two brothers and a cousin — sat on the sidewalk eating beef stew and tortillas ladled out for them by residents of this bustling market town in Mexico’s southern Chiapas state.

“These people have been beautiful,” he said. “Everyone’s helping us out.”

Who is financing the caravan? There is no sign here of George Soros or the Russians. Instead, the responsibility of feeding, clothing and sheltering several thousand migrants has been embraced by the small Mexican towns along the route, with residents jumping into charity mode as if they are responding to a natural disaster. It was hard to walk a block in this town without seeing crates of free bottled water, tables packed with ham and cheese tortas or relief stations filled with medical supplies donated by the community to help the people on this grueling march.

“We’re supporting them 100 percent,” Rafael Trinidad, a municipal employee, said as he passed out sandwiches to migrants arriving along the main road. “At least here, they can feel good.”

While President Trump is looking for ways to block the caravan at the U.S. border, Mexicans are pitching in to ease the travelers’ journey. Residents along the route say they are motivated by the Catholic tradition of charity, a shared familiarity with migration to the United States and a sense of solidarity in the face of Trump’s anti-migrant rhetoric. While they acknowledge the caravan could be a problem if it lingered, many do not seem to mind a brief stopover.

Central American migrants rest on the steps of a Catholic church in Pijijiapan, in southern Mexico, as a thousands-strong caravan that is slowly making its way toward the U.S. border stops for the night Thursday, 25 October 2018. Photo: Rebecca Blackwell / AP

Outside her family’s hardware store, Coqui Cortez, 57, had set up a table to feed migrants lemon tea and stew, using meat from her son’s butcher shop. Down the street, her daughter was handing out fruit.

“My family has been very blessed,” Cortez said. “And we know that we are all brothers. What God gives us, we should share.

“But we do it with a lot of love,” she added. […]

“Today it’s them. Tomorrow it could be us,” said Lesbia Cinco Ley, 70, who was volunteering with the Catholic church in town to distribute food. [more]

Mexicans shower the caravan with kindness — and tarps, tortillas and medicine

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