In Honduras, in August and September 2022, the fieldwork mainly focused on a migrant shelter in Danlí, a town close to the Nicaraguan-Honduran border crossing in Trejos. For several years, the town was used by migrants as an overnight stopping point ‘along-the-way’ of growing importance. Since August 2022, when official permits (Salvoconducto) were handed out to migrants at the local migration office and allowed temporally limited legal transit through Honduras, the mobility dynamics changed considerably. While these permits allowed for slightly safer journeys, they also bound the (im-)mobility of migrants to the working hours and capacities of the migration officials. This resulted in many migrants spending up to three days in the shelter – that is located in spatial proximity to these offices – where they were waiting before making the queue for their registration and Salvoconducto.
Through participant observation and narrative interviewing, fieldwork concentrated on the encounters between migrants, the shelter’s staff as well as other locals living in the region, who all contributed to the creation of a shared place of care and recovery from the physically and mentally arduous experiences along migrant journeys – despite the very limited comfort possible in this space of transit. Not only already established, but also newly emerging social ties and forms of mutual support were crucial for staying mobile and for confronting numerous constraints and vulnerabilities. An additional focus was on the actors’ engagement with the politics and moralities of migration and relations of power embedded in this asymmetric field of encounter.