The Samaritans

The Samaritans is a group I met while I was at the Nogales border with Mexico during Holy Week. They are a group of about fifteen, mostly retired people from Phoenix and Tucson who come together to attend to the detainees once they were returned to the Mexican side of the border. They are mostly involved with questions of health, like curing blisters, attending to cuts and bruised feet. My impression was that they were almost all doctors and nurses, all with a wonderfully upbeat spirit to serve the migrant population.

Remember that migrants are generally homeless once they return to Mexico. They have no access to running water, much less shower facilities, and the only clothes they have are the ones they are wearing. In other words hygiene is pretty much non-existent. When I was there I was just as glad that I had no reason to deal with their wounds or in any way cure their physical hurts. The Samaritans did that unpleasant task, and always with a smile on their face. When they weren’t curing wounds they were handing out donated clothing and blankets against the cold desert evening.

The Samaritans also try to attend to the migrants when they are walking through the desert on the U.S. side of the border. The migrants walk at night and the Samaritans sometimes go out and try to leave them supplies as they move forward, in perfect fidelity to the one whose name they bear. The story is told of the time that the Samaritans saw a group of migrants some distance away and cried out that they had food and water. The migrants shouted back that they had very little of either although they were willing to share what they were carrying. The migrants thought the Samaritans were another group of migrants and they were ready to share what they had with them, even though they only had a little.

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