You can smell it across the street. Something bubbling with chilies, chocolate, cinnamon, something else…cloves?? Omigod. The nuns are making mole and chicken for tonight’s dinner for the migrants. I know I’m supposed to be over at the clinica saving lives, but I simply must step into the kitchen and take in these aromas. One of the sisters is wiping away tears from the garlic and onions crackling in the cooking oil. She shows me the menu for dinner which is at 4 PM. Chicken with mole, rice, a soup of vegetables and rice, and fruit. Tortillas, of course, to mop up the juice.
I see “burn man” sitting on the curb. This fellow was in dire straights a few short weeks ago, with 2nd and 3rd degree burns over most of his back. He shows our group his wounds, and waits for the clinic to open for a dressing change. He looks fleshed out a bit—he has been eating regularly at the comedor. His burns are healing. Trying to hit us up for money, he wants cigarettes and a Coke. We tell him, just eat the food here—this is what you need to get back on your feet.
Lorena, a volunteer cook, invites me to help pull chicken off the bones for the mole dish. Her hands glisten with chicken grease. I sit with 3 other women and try to keep up with their rapid banter as they joke in Spanish. I laugh with them, not knowing quite what the joke is, but I’m happy to be here up to my elbows in grease.
After a few hours of talking with migrants, Lorena presents me and others with bowls of steaming chicken, mole, and rice. It is the best I have ever had. The sisters could be stars on the Food Network. The world is a better place with a bowl of chicken and mole in front of you.