For all its challenges, El Barretal is a step up from the migrants’ previous abode, the Benito Juarez sports complex, which was shut down early this month because of what authorities euphemistically called “bad sanitary conditions.”
El Barretal consists of a patchwork of individual and family tents —many covered by large white plastic canopies —and a separate indoor area housing families with young children.
Francisco - Rueda - Gomez - Secretary - State
Francisco Rueda Gomez, general secretary for the state of Baja California, told local news outlets that the immigration agency has leased the space at 100,000 pesos a month for seven months. The Mexican military operates multiple mobile kitchens there, and nearly 500 police maintain security, Rueda Gomez said.
The Red Cross operates another tent offering electrical outlets so people can charge their phones or borrow one to make a free call. There’s a gated “kids corner,” where children and teens can hang out under supervision. Volunteers offer additional hot meals, some dishing up food out of the trunks of their cars.
Residents - Touches - White - Sheets - Privacy
Residents have added their own touches. White sheets serving as privacy dividers push political messages. One depicts a U.S. flag and the words “American dream.” Another, painted with a Canadian flag, implores, “I am still waiting for your response” and “Let your dreams be bigger than your fears.”
Hanging from a grated window, long strips of coloured paper proclaim upbeat slogans in Spanish:
Today - Day
“Today is a new day.”
“God is with you.”
End - Efforts
“In the end, you’ll realize that all your efforts were worth it.”
Gerson Madrid Moreno is among those whose labours have paid off. The 22-year-old from Santa Rosa de Copan, Honduras, waited three weeks to get a work permit before landing a job in the meat section at Casa Ley, a supermarket within walking distance of the shelter. Madrid Moreno likes Tijuana and plans to stay. People have treated him well, and...
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