This morning brought the team to a local ranch where we were able to participate in a search and recovery exercise with Border Patrol and the Sherriff’s Office. I was very excited to participate, as part of my last trip to South Texas with the Beyond Borders team this past May focused on search and recoveries. I’m not sure if I was more excited because it reminds me of my first trip, or maybe it’s because I have had not had the time to reflect on the effects of this season, but something about participating in searches really resonates with me. I feel a closeness in walking the same paths that migrants are taking and observing materials they left behind. Water bottles, sweaters, and jackets – all necessary for the journey, and all items that we carry around ourselves. It’s a reminder that these are living and breathing people, with wants and needs just like our own. I was happy to be able to share the experience with Sammi, Sidney, and Arden, not only for the physical act of performing a search, but in all the other parts that encompass it: the sandy soil that requires a little more effort to walk in, the various spiders and wildlife we come into contact with, the mesquite and cacti that have to be dodged, the feeling of being completely alone and not knowing where you are because everything looks exactly the same. I have presented on our previous trip a few times over the most recent semester, but hearing about searches and actually doing them are completely different things. The team was even fortunate enough to be covered in ticks by the time the search was over – a truly authentic part of the search and recovery experience! Though we only participated in the search and recovery exercise in the morning, I feel like the whole team was able to take something away from it. A quote from Sister Pam that I stated in my final reflection post from last season still applies here, “You become different people when you put your feet in other people’s shoes…it changes you”.