Today started off with making Gorditas with Carmen Hernández. This was followed by her immigration story and the struggles she went through. She shared some vulnerable aspects of her journey, one of them was getting her ill daughter medical treatment. She showed us the importance of taking care of others even though they are not blood related. This inspiring story touched a lot of people personally.
After visiting with Carmen, we returned to the Hospitality Center where we met Yaha Aguilera who spoke about the organization she works for, Save The Children. This organization focuses on comforting children while they go through immigration struggles. Many people get stories from adults, however many don’t hear stories from a child’s point of view and this was an eye opening perspective.
We ended the day at White Sands National Park where we enjoyed sledding down the dunes and getting some souvenirs from the gift shop. The park had amazing views and it was a great way to end the trip.
Today we had some extra time to sleep in before heading off to the Ysleta del Sur Cultural Center to learn about the Tigua Indian tribe. We learned about the pueblo that they lived in and then went to lunch at a place called “Burritos Crisostomo.” Everyone loved the food. After lunch, we went to a port of entry and met a man named Carlos Marentes. He talked to us about the migrant workers who work in the fields to put food on our table. After that, we went to see the border wall where we met some kids from Mexico! They were very nice and we bonded with a boy named Jesus over our love for soccer. We then went back to Las Cruces to have dinner where we watched a game of March Madness. We then went back to the church to play basketball and wind down to sleep.
Today, we started off with an early morning wake up and a quick breakfast before leaving for El Paso. We first arrived Cristo Rey where we listened to Ruben Garcia from Annunciation House share his experiences working alongside the organization to help refugees. Next, we had a meeting and presentation with Customs and Border Protection Agents where we were able to appreciate a different perspective on border control.
Then we fueled ourselves with lunch at Café Mayapan where we received a surprise presentation with information about the region. Then we walked through Chamizal National Park/ Museum and enjoyed the beautiful weather. Lastly in El Paso, we walked through El Segundo Barrio admiring the different murals. Dinner was served at the church while we winded down from a full day of learning.
Today we started off with a presentation comparing the income of an average documented family in the United States versus the income of an average undocumented family in Las Cruces, New Mexico. After the presentation, we had a storytime of two women who both crossed the border at a young age for a better life for their families. They encountered many dangers on their journeys. These two women now work with a local organization called Border Servant Corps.
We then traveled to a hospitality center where we learned about what asylum seekers do after they are released from the custody of ICE. We also had a service project today where we cleaned and did a trash pickup around the hospitality center.
For a relaxing evening, we traveled to a mountain by the name of Tortuga and climbed up as far as we could. Ending the night, we had a delicious dinner at the local fast food chain Whataburger.
A few of us began our day with an early, brisk run with Mr. Wood. After breakfast, we headed to the courthouse in Las Cruces where we watched some immigration proceedings. Following that, we had the opportunity to have an informative Q/A with a Federal District Judge named Margaret Strickland. Having been in the courthouse for a while, we fulfilled our hunger by feasting at Matteo's, a local Mexican restaurant. We then visited La Mesilla, a small and historic town. Before exploring the town, we circled up and reflected with a very beneficial learning session. Lastly, we came back to homebase where we heard an impactful story of a Mexican immigrant who also cooked us an authentic meal.