Salesian Volunteers Visit Asylum Community Center in Tijuana

By: JC Montenegro
Delegate for Mission Animation

As part of the Mission Animation Promotion on Thanksgiving weekend a group of young adults from our province visited the Salesian Community in Tijuana. This is an opportunity for young adults to experience and see firsthand social issues and to educate and raise awareness of what is happening in the world. Young people are challenged to become agents of transformation.

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As part of the experience, young adults served in the Salesian soup kitchen called “El Desayunador,” where over 1000 plates are served every day to provide food to disadvantaged people. The young adults’ job was to welcome our brothers and sisters, serve food, and clean the tables.

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In the afternoon, the group visited an orphanage of children with AIDs. Volunteers spent time with the children by playing soccer, running around, and doing whatever the children were doing; the main objective was to accompany them and to enjoy each other’s presence.

The next activity struck us the most. We visited a community center of people who are seeking asylum, like a “refugee camp.” The majority of the people are young adults with families. In this space, there were over 100 people, among them were young adults, adults, and children — all of them living together in common dormitories and using common restrooms.

In a small covered playground, they set around ten long plastic tables and around 4:30 PM everybody had dinner. Right after dinner we moved the tables and we invited the children to come and play some games with us. The parents were sitting around the playground enjoying themselves while we entertained their children. Around 7 PM, we gathered everybody, and had our good night and evening prayers.

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At the end of the trip, we had a debriefing process with our young adults. They shared with us that this experience has changed their way of seeing life. They realized many people are suffering and that we need to do something about it if we want to change our society. They may not know how to do it, but the thinking process will eventually move to action steps that will change our society.

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