Saturday, June 21, 2008

Week Two (Karen)

This week we moved in with our host families, helped at Borderlink's kids camp, and volunteered at Las Madres. The pace of life was definitely slower than our jam-packed delegation week. But it has been a great opportunity to take it easy and experience the Nogales life.

As I write, our host mother is prepping beef for her son Ramon's graduation party. He is graduating today (June 21) from primary school. Our father commented last night that he wishes Jose and I could stay until Monday so that we can attend the festivities. What striked me when he said this was the realization that life will continue without us.

As obvious as that seems, it is what makes leaving difficult. What will happen to this family? Will Ramon finish secondary school? Or even more simply, after five years, will the family finally get to visit their relatives this summer as they have planned? The same concerns and questions apply to the children we met this week. There was George who has learned English listening to hip-hop and rap. He helped translate for me a couple of times in the afternoon. There was cute little Kevin with teenage parents. There was another girl, who I met Thursday morning, that lives with her mother and two brothers but has no idea where her father is. I wish I could just know that things will turn out well for all of the children at the camp.

Similarly, I think of the migrants we have met not only in the previous week but also at Las Madres, a migrant soup kitchen, this week. In particular, there were three individuals that stood out at Las Madres. There was the man from Utah who had been deported after 30 years. His lawyer was in the process of sorting out his papers so hopefully he is now on his way home. There was the 18 year old boy who had spent four days in the desert before being deported. As a result, he had difficulty swallowing when he arrived at Las Madres. The Utah man took him to a shelter on Tuesday but that was the last we saw of him. Finally, there was another man who had lived in California for nineteen years and was on his way back to his hometown after being deported from Tucson. He was waiting on Thursday for his brother to wire him $200, which was the amount he needed to travel to central Mexico.

Not knowing how their stories will end drives me crazy. But all I can do is hope that change will make living in Nogales, Mexico, and the US better for these individuals down the road.

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