La Bestia – Train of the Unknowns

Every year, thousands of people make their way from Central America, through Mexico, to the North. One massive freight train is known for being the best way to cut hundreds of miles of walking off your trip. That train is know as La Bestia – The Beast.

The Beast is a great big whore of a train, with carriages stretching back towards the horizon, the sides of its cargo holds as tall as walls. It rattles through the dusty countryside with a rumble you can feel in your feet as it approaches.

But despite the title, this film isn’t about The Beast, it’s about the men and women who risk their lives trying to jump onto it. They arrive from all over and for a variety of reasons. Some are from Honduras, some are from Mexico, some are running for their lives and seeking asylum, some are just looking for work to give their families the best chance in life.

Caring for these weary travellers are the good folk at the Casa del Migrante, a sanctuary in Huehutoca, a suburb of Mexico City next to the rail line. There they feed the hungry, give beds to the exhausted, and clothe those who have walked through their shoes. The Church hold services asking God to look after the travellers, and give them blessed rosaries, telling them that they will never be alone, even if they are injured or die on the tracks. Unlike so many who give Christianity a bad name, these people uphold the very best in Christ-like behaviour, in service to their neighbour.

By the time La Bestia comes, you have gotten to know the folk so well, you are terrified for them. As they looked for a place to grab on to this moving behemoth, I found myself mumbling under my breath, “carefulcarefulcareful”. I could hardly watch.

I’m not religious, but still, God watch over them all out there, on that perilous journey, alone and unknown in the desert. A very moving short film.

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