Instead of going to White Sands because of the weather, we made sandwiches for another group of refugees.
Later we went back to the same hotel as before to serve about 75 refugees.
After serving and eating, we got to play with many of the kids who came with their parents to the United States mostly from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Mexico.
We're all packed up and ready to see you soon!
This morning we made a hardy breakfast of bacon, eggs, and pancakes. Then, we drove to the border and heard stories from Estela and Bertha, two women who live on the Juarez side of the wall. After asking many insightful questions, we heard a compelling border patrol presentation at the wall. After lunch, we heard a presentation from a ministry of the Catholic Diocese of El Paso: Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services, Inc. (DMRS). After a short break, we had two World Leadership School learning sessions entitled "From Here to Affinity" and "Community Inquiry." We then had a Border Network for Human Rights presentation by Susana Herrera. Afterwards, we took an adventure to Andale, a local Mexican place of eating where Holden was serenaded by a Mariachi band for his birthday; a nice end to the day.
Our group talking to Estela and Bertha through the border wall
Students talking with two Border Patrol Agents
Exploring the wall
Dinner at Andale
In the morning, we visited the "Anunciation House", a house that holds undocumented immigrants after they get released from prison so they can try to get back on their feet. The lady that was talking to us, Kara, was someone who is in the process of volunteering for the shelter. She told us what these migrants were experiencing, and talked about how unfair the system was, as they prioritized races over one another. She told us where the migrants slept and that the only rule to stay at the Anunciation House is that they not engage in criminal behavior.
After visiting the Annunciation House, the group went to visit the El Paso Museum of History. In the museum, we got the opportunity to learn about who first lived in El Paso, and what impact they had made on the city. We also learned about why many immigrants cross to El Paso. The museum may not have been very large, but showcased its excellence with its digital wall. The only one in America! The digital wall is comprised of many touchscreen surfaces, that students could use to browse the whole city, and get information on certain parts.
After the museum we walked around downtown for a bit and stopped for a drink at the Coffee Box. We then headed back to the church and ate lunch as a group. After school ended for some of kids from the church, they came to the church for the After School Program and we helped with homework and played some games with them. We really enjoyed playing soccer and Groundies with them, as well as learning names and playing charades. We were really surprised that we were able to help out with their homework. We also learned that they had school in both English and Spanish.
After all the kids got picked up, we had a Thanksgiving dinner, on a Wednesday, in February. Ignoring the weirdness of it, the food was amazing and we had a lot of good conversation with some people from the church as well as our leaders and each other.
The first thing we did was go to the federal court house in Las Cruces, NM, but we weren't able to take pictures in there. In the courthouse, we witnessed the sentencing of immigrants who were caught by border patrol, and then after talked to a magistrate judge who answered some of our questions. Afterwards we went to go enjoy lunch at La Posta de Mesilla and then had some time to walk around the plaza.
After an early morning, and full day, the group went out for frozen yogurt to relax and unwind.
This morning we went to a Colonia Agua Dulce and met Soledad.
After learning about Soledad's story, we went to Vista Market and bought some sweets.
Then we traveled to Hueco Tanks Colonia where we met Argelia and learned about her story as an immigrant.
After a long morning, we had a break and we were able to have some down time. We went to the park and watched the sunset, and this allowed us to get to know each other better.
GIRLS BEAT BOYS!!!