Jesus Ramirez, Director of the Pej Pem center, talks with one of many exhibitors showcasing organic foods produced with sustainable agriculture practices.
This Palenque Immigrant House is a ministry of the Catholic Church. It offers food, laundry, bathing and sleeping facilities for those who have crossed the border between Chiapas and Guatemala and have made it as far as Palenque, one of the first stops that migrants make after entering southern Mexico. It was not uncommon to see groups of immigrants walking on the roadside late at night - to escape detection by local authorities. Immigrants sometimes fall victim to drug gangs; they also risk their lives by hopping on north-bound trains.
Immigrant House is staffed by sisters of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. We interviewed Sr. Nellie, pictured here, as well as an immigrant en route from Honduras to the United States - not pictured. We we all quite moved to hear both his plight of being out of work and unable to support his family, as well as his aspirations for joining his brother, who was already living in the U.S.