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Monday, November 05, 2018


by Donna Katzin

"Mexico town devastated by earthquake welcomes thousands from migrant caravan. Migrants from Central America are fleeing poverty and violence and are still weeks away from reaching the US." —The Guardian, October 30, 2018. Photo: Central Americans fill their water bottles with juice while waiting in line to receive donated food in Niltepec, Oaxaca. Photograph: Rebecca Blackwell/AP via The Guardian.

In your unfailing love you will lead
    the people you have redeemed.
In your strength you will guide them
    to your holy dwelling.
—Exodus, 15.1

A human river,
they come in shirts and sandals,                           
children holding their hands, 
mochilas bearing their only belongings.                                           

They come in shirts and sandals,                           
hunger in their hearts,
mochilas bearing their only belongings,                                             
turn their backs on beatings, gunshots in the night.

Hunger in their hearts,
they trudge through wilderness,
turn their backs on beatings, gunshots in the night --
leave the land that gave them life.                     

They trudge through wilderness,         
envisioning a Promised Land,
leave the land that gave them life.
Together they cry out to their god.                                       

Envisioning a Promised Land
like passengers of the St. Louis,
together they cry out to their god
when the border slams shut.                                                 

Like passengers of the St. Louis,           
refusing to turn back                   
when the border slams shut,
they surge in search of a miracle.                                                                         

Refusing to turn back,
a human river,
they surge in search of a miracle,
children holding their hands.

Donna Katzin is the founding executive director of Shared Interest, a fund that mobilizes the human and financial resources of low-income communities of color in South and Southern Africa.  A board member of Community Change in the U.S., and co-coordinator of Tipitapa Partners working in Nicaragua, she has written extensively about South Africa, community development and impact investing.  Published in journals and sites including TheNewVerse.News and The Mom Egg, she is the author of With the Hands, a book of poems and photographs about post-apartheid South Africa’s process of giving birth to itself.