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From the Encuentro Nacional de Pastoral Juvenil Hispana 2006 – Weaving the Future Together – Notre Dame University, South Bend, IN.  Click here for more videos

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Photo project by Dulce Pinzón.
The Mexican immigrant worker in New York is a perfect example of the hero who has gone unnoticed. It is common for a Mexican worker in New York to work extraordinary hours in extreme conditions for very low wages which are saved at great cost and sacrifice and sent to families and communities in Mexico who rely on them to survive.

Be sure to read the captions under each picture

We had an experience in a visit to the city of Matamoros with a group of about 10 students.  In one of the places we visited, a city trash dump, we saw people living among the trash and sewage.  It was a very powerful experience for all of us as we saw shacks near this dump.   As we were driving through, our guide asked to stop near this one particular area to speak to a local leader.  As we stopped, he got out and I decided to join him.  As I went to ask the rest of the group whether they wanted to get out or not, one of the participants felt that we were intruding and was very uncomfortable with the whole situation.  It seemed that the whole group agreed.  I was personally quite upset, because one of the reasons mentioned for not getting out of the van was that we had nothing to give those people living there.  My view was that we actually had a lot to give, by our very presence and giving them recognition.  As I read some of the journals from others in the group ( weeks later), I found that many felt the same way as I did, but felt a certain “peer pressure” not to get out of the van.  Many of them wished they would have gotten out, at least to say hello and show them their own concern for their situation.  I told the group that there was no right or wrong response in the unexpected face of dire poverty.  Some were angry and upset, but upon reflection found that they were more upset at themselves for not getting out of the van to simply show a little common courtesy.   They were frozen by the conditions they saw, and smelled -it was quite overwhelming.  It is an interesting dynamic to confront a reality that we don’t normally face in our own everyday lives.  After several trips to that area, my response has been to recognize that Christ is there in the people, and I need to get off the van, whether I have candy, food, or money, or not.  They are my family after all.