There are so many dedicated and hardworking volunteers working in the RGC Cemetery this week on the excavations. There are five of us from UIndy and a large group from Texas State University. We have already talked extensively about the challenges we face: the high temperatures, the difficulty digging in the ground here, and the depth of the burials (among other things). But, unlike what we faced in Sacred Heart Burial Park, each area of the cemetery where unidentified migrants are buried brings its own unique challenges.
The area that needs to be searched here is very large. While that might not be an issue in the sandy soil of Brooks County, here our normal search strategies are difficult or impossible. Probing the ground has proven impossible and the act of digging test pits or trenches is difficult and time consuming. Yet, they are still making progress and doing an incredible job facing the challenges of this particular site.
The area here is located on low ground. We had had several big overnight storms throughout the week that has left this area completely underwater. Yet, this group came up with strategies to remove the water from the pit and continue to work without much delay.
This group is digging their excavation area completely by hand. This burial is expected to be 5-6 feet below ground surface and is located in a place that the backhoe cannot reach. So they are using shovels to excavate the entire pit by hand. In this environment that is quite a task!
In this area of the cemetery the burials are deep! This has required a lot of digging to locate and remove each burial. Yet, this team has powered through it each day.
Every volunteer is facing the same collective challenges in addition to the unique challenges of their team’s particular excavation spot. It takes a lot of dedication, determination and strength to continue to make progress each day and we wanted to make sure all these hard workers are recognized!