Day Four: Guaymas Casa Franciscana By Darling Najar

March 23,2016,

Today we traveled from Bahia de Kino to Guaymas, it was a 3 hour drive. Upon arrival,  we met Ramon and his wife at Casa Franciscana. We started off by getting a tour of Casa Franciscana, then we broke up into groups and some of us were washing dishes, packing food, or helping serve. Casa Franciscana has many different programs that they have to offer for people who are in need. They offer free dental work, access to a pharmacy, and a medical clinic.  The clinic and the dental area help with health care needs of those who need it.  Many are migrants riding the train that comes up from the south.  The train is known as “la bestia” or “the beast” because of what happens to the migrants who ride it.  Casa Franciscana has a jewelry program just started one year ago.  It is a program that was started for single and widowed mothers who need to find a way to provide income to their family, but at the same tiime take care of their children. This program is a three-year program where the women learn how to make jewelry with sea shells, how to work as a team with other women, leadership skills, and how to manage a business. They are usually making jewelry while their children are in school, but if they have children who aren’t in school, Casa Franciscana has an area for children to do activities while their mothers work. All the jewelry is sold there at Casa Franciscana, but it is only by donations And doesn’t have a specific price on it. El Meson is another part of Casa Franciscana and is a separate building where they serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner for anyone who comes in to eat. They serve around 1000 people daily. Some of us helped serve vegetable soup, tortillas, fruit, and lemonade during lunch time. Others were helping wash tons and tons of dishes, pots, and pans. And the rest of us were helping prepare food packages so those in need would have food for the rest of the week because it was going to be closed during Holy Week celebrations. Afterwards, we went with Gerardo, a Franciscan, to visit a trade school donated and built for people who want to get a diploma in cosmetology, computer technology, sewing, engish, etc. This school will be open on April 4 this year, and it will take in up to 25 students from the neighborhood who are interested in learning a trade. They will only have to pay 300 pesos every three months, but if they can’t pay, they won’t be turned away. After, Gerardo took us to Club Jerry, which is an after school program started by Father Jerry, who is from Canada. Club Jerry is a safe area for children to go after school and play basketball, rollerskate, skate board, or do their homework together.   Visiting Guaymas was an amazing experience, we gained so much knowledge on all the services Casa Franciscana has to offer to those in need.   It was a joy and honor to serve at Casa Franciscana and to meet such amazing people. It was great to be a part of the lives of everyone we met on this day, even if it was only for a few hours.