A Gardener Defies the Borders Between San Diego and Tijuana

Couple weeks ago I met with the wonderful people of the Presbytery of San Diego. Pastor Sam Codington organized a visit to the borders between San Diego and Tijuana. We visited a site where volunteers receive immigrants from all over the world. Across from the huge walls, we saw a migrant family from Afghanistan. They could be my family. Kids were playing with doves not realizing they were squeezed between two walls that held them into the hands of the US migration police. The volunteers were literally healing the wounds on the sore feet of the adults.

Then we went to Tijuana and at the Friendship Park we met Daniel Watman, a gardener. Daniel has been working on a garden on the side of Mexico for 16 years. He still holds the Friendship Park not only as a metaphor but a vivid reality. I talked to him and he showed the frailty and the strength of the garden. Watch the video if you want to know more about this fantastic garden which is a testimony of life amidst death!

It is between the wall and the garden that life is at stake. On one side, there is a wall of death, but just next to it there is a garden of life. On the side of the wall there is fear, anger and violence but right there, next to it there is a garden with life pulsing in joy, lightness and exuberance. On the side of the wall there is a desire for one people only to live, one monoculture. But on the side of the garden there are many forms of life living together, with different worlds complementing each other. On the side of the walls, metals, stiffness, ugliness. On the side of the garden, we see gentleness, softness, beauty.

If the wall ripped my heart open, the garden tended it with healing balms. Yes, the walls are there as vicious signs of who we are. But next to the wall we are also there with the best of ourselves in the presence of Daniel Watman. It is Daniel and his people who show us that we should not be wall builders but gardeners of a world that we need now and a garden that is yet to come.