El Cero

short stories

Off to Church

La Casa de Migrante in Matamoros on their way back from the Sunday Mass.

Apparently a year ago the group was regularly attacked on their way to and from church. Armed men tried to kidnap and then hold would-be migrants for ransom. Now they hold crucifixes, bibles and sing songs as a form of protection and they say the situation in general has got better this year. La Casa is located 10km from the centre of town and the neighbourhood feels quite isolated. Matamoros is in the border state of Tamaulipas and is the most northeastern town in Mexico. Tamaulipas is one of the most troubled areas of Mexico at the moment.

It still amazes me how much I stand-out in this country. I’m a ‘Guero’ and assumed to be American. Everybody notices and many people stare. Normally I don’t mind, however I felt quite exposed standing on a street corner here. It’s a poor neighbourhood but there are plenty of expensive SUV’s with blacked out windows flying around. I can’t help asking who the people are inside. I just try to look away and hope they only see the Mexican I’m standing with. Apart from anything else some people may believe I’ll be worth a healthy ransom.

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