Desperate Conditions Ahead for the Caravan

My phone rang in our hotel room at 4:15am Tuesday morning. It was Francisco: “Como estas, Kim? Voy a llegar at 4:45 ok?” We think he called to make sure we would actually be awake when he arrived to pick us up at our Tapachula hotel. I met Francisco the day I arrived in Tapachula because he was the taxi driver who took me from the airport to my hotel. On that ride, I told him I was there to support the Caminata, and he replied “Todos somos iguales bajo dios.”  We are all the same under God. Then he said he wanted to help too.

As planned, Francisco arrived at 5am with his wife, Ysania, and their four year old daughter, Ambar. We started the day at the Tapachula public market where we bought vegetables, rice, oil, chiles and chicken before heading to the house of Francisco’s sister, Veronica.

Picking up the chicken from a truck that had just arrived from el campo.

When we arrived at Veronica’s house, she was ready for us. Water was boiling over two fires in the yard and we got right to work chopping the vegetables and chicken. No shortcuts. The sauce was made from fresh chiles and tomatoes. The rice was cleaned and washed, then toasted in oil before adding the water and vegetables. The 1250 tortillas had to be warm from the tortilla maker. This food for the masses was made with the same love and care that went into food for the family.

The smoke from the fires made Ysania’s eyes water and she laughed when I took her photo: “La gente pensara que los mexicanos son bebes llorones.”

After everything was perfectly cooked and seasoned, we loaded the troughs of chicken and rice into the back of a pick up and headed 20 miles north to Huitxla, where the members of the Caravan had slept the night before. Within seconds of our arrival in the town square, a long line formed at the back of our truck bed. People were hungry, thousands of them. Huitxla is a poor community and there were no NGOs there except for those couple of Red Cross vans.

For awhile, there was joy and gratitude for the wonderful food our Mexican friends had prepared. We fed 400 people with just a few hours work and less than $150.

But much too soon, the food was gone with so many people still in line, hungry, hoping for any kind of sustenance. Our ride back to Tapachula was quiet.

The next 200 miles of the Caminata’s path is through poor villages. There is no government help. There are no NGOs following them. We wonder how they will eat, where they will get water. We know there are so many Mexicans like Francisco and Ysania and Veronica, but they are also struggling to feed their families.

Please world…make the relief of human suffering more important.





  1. The world is off-kilter and I feel like I’m in an apocalyptic science fiction movie, seeing environmental destruction, the loss of human values and the loss of kindness, empathy and our collective family. Thank you for helping and big love to Francisco and his family – they are beautiful examples of giving. Even if the Carminata’s path ahead is through poor villages and no NGO’s – YOU have alleviated hunger for many for one day and shown them compassion and love. Take care my dear friend.

  2. Thank you for helping and I hate that well to do Americans chear at the thought of turning this group of desperate and needy people away- that SHOULD NOT be my fellow citizens’ reaction here. It isn’t the way we feel for many of us… we would welcome them and help them, but it isn’t up to us right now. and it breaks my heart to see. All we can do is Vote and hope for change and try to do what we can personally

  3. As I am reading this with a knot in my gut. I am about to put my daughter down to sleep! I can’t even bear to imagine what these people are going through..what can I do help???? Send you money? Kim you are a brave kind women and I’m so truly grateful for your exposure! God Bless you on this journey and the the other families who are trying to make a better life for themselves and kids!

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