I have been avoiding writing this. Most of the time when I write, I try so hard to notice and talk about the things that don’t just confirm our expectations about refugees and migrants who are living in desperate circumstances. But my last day in Tijuana stopped me short. I do not want to simply talk about abject misery in this humanitarian catastrophe. But right now, I’m not sure what else I have to talk about.

The Border Wall at Playas de Tijuana

There’s no way to be a US citizen in Tijuana and not deal with it. It’s like a rusty metal serpent that runs along the edge of the city, especially present when you drive out to Playas, the slightly cheesy beach resort part of Tijuana. Kind of like if there was a 15 foot tall metal barrier topped with razor wire running along the side of Ocean Parkway as you head to Coney Island. …

Here’s what we’ve done in the past two days:

Visited two migrant shelters to introduce ourselves and propose leading workshops:

One for single men — many deportees from the US, as well as migrants heading north — run by a tiny, scary-tough young woman who talked faster than anyone I’ve ever met, who intimidated me too much to ask her to slow down

One for women and children where kids were hanging cut paper decorations for mother’s day from the ceiling in the kitchen; where mothers who looked ancient and exhausted picked lice from toddlers’ heads in the dusty front…

I am in Tijuana on a Theater Communications Group travel grant to build a relationship with Tijuana Hace Teatro, an amazing, community-engaged theater here run by two incredible Renaissance men of the theater — Jesús Quintero and Ramón Verdugo. I will be here for about ten days with my friend and translator, Denisse Jimenez, who is helping me understand the language that I (sadly, despite some serious effort over the past six months) do not speak very well.

I have been in Tijuana for about 48 hours, and even though I’ve been here once before, my head is spinning. I…

I am migrating my blog from Tumblr to Medium, where my posts will now live. In the process, I’m re-posting old stuff, now in actual chronological order (oldest to most recent) — not the order I wrote the posts in. This one is a series of reflections while I was leading a Workshop for Immigrant Actors at Baruch College Performing Arts Center in the fall of 2016 — coincidentally/appropriately during and just after the presidential campaign.

Week 1

It’s been a while since I’ve written. I’m now embarking on the next phase of my AS YOU LIKE IT project, and…

Blog Posts from Kakuma Refugee Camp, Spring 2016

I am migrating my blog from Tumblr to Medium, where my posts will now live. In the process, I’m re-posting old stuff, now in actual chronological order (oldest to most recent) — not the order I wrote the posts in. This article contains the blog posts that I wrote when I was teaching a theater workshop at Kakuma Refugee Camp in the NW corner of Kenya in the spring of 2016.

May, 2016

There’s a lot happening right now.

Tomorrow, I leave for Kenya to teach a theater workshop in Kakuma Refugee Camp for two weeks. I’m stocking up on Kind bars…

Jessica Bauman

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