After our last day, Eddie asked all of us what we had learned this trip. While a valid question, all of us found ourselves unable to formulate answers. This isn’t because we didn’t learn anything, but because what we have learned is hard to articulate. The things we have learned will stay with us well past our flight home, and well into our professional careers.
But I can say: I have learned that any person who choses to cross the border is braver than I am. There is no way I could survive crossing. I had a hard time making it through three hours in the brush, let alone three months. Seeing the strength in Byron and hearing his story was incredibly eye-opening.
I have learned that Falfurrias is the most enigmatic place I have ever encountered. The few days before we leave, I don’t want to leave the comfort of my home. I know what lies ahead: hard work, foreign beds, and emotionally draining situations. When we are there and working, I am counting down the days until I can return to the comfort of my home. Then, the last day, I cannot imagine leaving, going back to the comfort of my home, away from the hard work, foreign beds, and emotionally draining situations.
In Falfurrias, we have a purpose. We wake up every morning after debriefing the night before with a plan in our head. Even though the work we do is difficult, we are working towards something. In Indiana, we are always working — on cases, on lab upkeep, on school work. But after being in Falfurrias and interacting with the community, our works seems so privileged. It’s still important work, but it is privileged work. Even our work at Sacred Heart is privileged compared to everything those who are working to aid in the border crisis do every day.
I am so thankful that those who dedicate their life to the border crisis allow us, season after season, to come back and help them as much as we can. I am even more thankful that they are dedicating their lives to this crisis.
I am so thankful for Eddie, Arianna, and Selina of the South Texas Human Rights Center.
I am so thankful for Deputy Don White.
I am thankful for my team, for the opportunities I have been given, and for the conversations had.
I will continue to be thankful, and I will continue to learn and reflect.