|Maryknoll Sisters Joji Fenix and Melinda Roper, who are working in Darién, Panama, are currently inundated with Venezuelan refugees and are urgently seeking immediate, short-term help from volunteers.
The sisters are looking for volunteers who can commit from two weeks to a month. Spanish speakers are preferred but those without Spanish are also welcome; anyone who can wash the feet and wounds of migrants who have walked long distances would be helpful.
Please note that the Darién area is rural and rough. Volunteers will need to cover their own travel expenses and $25 per day for food and lodging at the Pastoral Center Red de Vida.
The Darién Gap, which marks the border between Colombia and Panama, is one of the world’s most dangerous refugee and migrant routes, consisting of 5,000 square-kilometers of tropical wilderness, steep mountains, and rivers. Crossings can take 10 days or more for the most vulnerable, who are exposed to natural hazards as well as criminal groups perpetrating violence, including sexual abuse and robbery.
For more background, read this recent UN report and this Council of Foreign Relations backgrounder, or watch these two PBS Newshour programs about migrants’ perilous journey through the Darién gap. Sister Joji’s ministry is featured here.
If you are interested, please email:
Sr. Melinda Roper at [email protected] or
Sr. Joji Fenix at [email protected]