Agridulce or bittersweet

Paz Vital, OSB Justice, Living in Community Leave a Comment

My experience at the Hispanic Summer Program (HSP) in Dallas was agridulce or bitter-sweet.

It was dulce-sweet because I was able to be around people who look like me. My teachers and most of my fellow students looked like me and spoke Spanish like me. I was able to speak Spanish. I was able to worship in my native language. It was very natural for all of us to go back and forth speaking Spanglish. We shared common stories and experiences. The topics of our classes were all about Latin@theology and the way Latin@s express our religiosity. It was very refreshing to talk with people who share the same cosmovision, weltanschauung or philosophy of life.

However, it was also agrio, a lot of bitter taste. Because we all were very aware of what was happening nearby in the southern part of Texas. We watched the news at breakfast and heard that the Trump administration was forcefully taking babies and kids away from their parents and locking them up in cages. I was shocked. I could not believe what I was hearing and seeing—the images of many babies, who also looked like me, in cages without their mothers. What is happening in this country? These are not Hitler’s concentration camps but Trump’s immigration detention centers.

Have you ever thought what it would take to leave your work, your family, your home town, and move with your babies and toddlers to a different country where people do not speak or look like you? How desperate you must be to abandon everything and escape with your baby in arms just to step into another trap? These thoughts accompanied me during my stay in Dallas and they have not left me. What can I do to change this horror, or to wake up from this nightmare?

When Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus fled to Egypt because Herod wanted to kill Jesus, they found a lot of good Egyptians that helped them become established in this foreign country. When the danger was over in Israel the sacred family was able to return home. Thanks to a lot of good Egyptians that helped them, Jesus was able to carry out his ministry and we can celebrate Easter. I wish everyone would feel safe at home and not need to migrate. But if they do need to migrate, I wish a lot of good people would help them as the Egyptians helped Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus.

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