Friends, Old and New (continued) – Douglas

In Douglas we got an introduction to border issues while staying with Jack and Linda.  They have been living in Douglas for several years working with Mennonites and Presbyterians in relating to migrants and in helping others understand what is happening.

Wall in Douglas, road for Patrol

Wall in Douglas, road for Patrol

Every morning they walk the nine blocks to the “Wall” where they pray.  When they first started the practice, the Border Patrol was very suspicious.  The Patrol now accept them and rarely ask questions. From the Wall we toured a large cemetery where at several places there are graves for unknown migrants who have tried to cross the border.

We crossed the border and spent time in Agua Pria visiting organizations working with migrants.  Immediately, across the border, beside the gate, is the Resource Center for Migrants (Centro de Recursos para Migrantes).  Here, migrants who have been brought back to Mexico are able to make phone calls to family, receive clothes, obtain food, and gain help in their return.

Some of the male migrants who have returned, are housed in a Catholic Church compound.  Here some are learning to make furniture from wood pallets.  We passed the C.R.R.E.D.A., considered one of the best centers serving people with drug and alcohol problems.  We visited a small urban project run by a group of local women focusing on gardening, chickens, and small sewing projects.  They are currently working on a special order of Donald Trump dolls / pin cushions for a retailer in Tucson.  We stopped at Justo Coffee which buys Mexican coffee beans and roasts, bags, and sells coffee in the U.S.  We ate Sonoran hot dogs from a street vendor and then had Mexican ice cream.

Wall on Mexican side

Wall on Mexican side

We viewed the “Wall” from the Mexican side.  Several artists have painted nature scenes on the Wall.  We were told that they had also painted on the U.S. side but those were removed by Border Patrol.

Late afternoon we returned to the U.S. and drove east about 5 miles along the wall.  What a sobering experience to look at this artificial border extending for hundreds of miles.  There are 20-feet high metal sections to lower vehicle-prohibiting sections to barbed wire to nothing.  Sensors and cameras are located all along the border.

We ended our day with a visit to the historic Gadsden Hotel in Douglas.  It was opened in 1907, burnt, and rebuilt in 1929.  There is a solid white Italian marble staircase and four soaring marble columns. An authentic Tiffany stained glass mural extends forty-two feet across one wall of the massive mezzanine.  The hotel has been in several movies and is purported to be haunted!  It is also said that Pancho Villa rode his horse up the staircase, shooting his gun!

On our way to Tucson the next day we stopped briefly in Bisbee, viewing the large open-pit copper mine which finally closed operations in 1975.  We had coffee and walked some of the streets of old Bisbee. Bisbee and Douglas were in their heyday when the mine was in full operation.


One Response to “Friends, Old and New (continued) – Douglas”

  1. michelle Says:

    Looks familiar!

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