Category Archives: Snapshots

Random things about us

Looking Forward

Going to Texas will bring with it many new experiences. Some of these experiences include a change in environment, while others include a change in culture and community. I look forward to the new experiences Texas brings. I am most looking forward to getting to know some of the people who have devoted their time to the humanitarian works within the border lands and those who call the area their home. Being raised in America by parents from New Zealand gave me a unique perspective of American culture. I’m interested to see if anyone in Texas may have had a similar experience growing up so close to the Mexican border, or possibly being a dual-citizen themselves. I hope by the end of this trip, I will have a better understanding of what is occurring in Texas and along the Mexican border. My understanding of this humanitarian crisis can only go so far without witnessing it for myself.

Texas will be very challenging because again, it encompasses both a different environment and culture within the community. Going into any new community as an outsider can be difficult, but going to Texas will be quite different as we are entering the community trying to understand and help with the humanitarian crisis. As an outsider, I think a substantial challenge will be adjusting to the cultural changes from my background to the background of those living in the Texas-Mexico borderlands. Another challenge will be the environment of the Texas landscape. Texas is hot and contains snakes, spiders, and boars; all of which I did not grow up with. Even though it will be a challenge, I am looking forward to the many new experiences this trip will bring.

I think this experience will be life changing. That sounds cheesy, but I mean it. Going to Texas allows us to experience a very small part of what these undocumented border crossers face throughout their journey. You don’t know what they are going through and we will never know exactly what they go through, but we can try and understand them.


South Texas Human Rights Center

Three Days

“I heard one of these lectures about an experiment where they give guys a pair of glasses that make them see the whole world upside down. But after three days, guess what? They see everything right side up. And then they take off their glasses, and they see everything upside down again. For three days. And then, eureka! Back to normal. Yes, it takes the brain three days to adapt.” — Bones, “The Doctor in the Photo”

Being in Falfurrias is like seeing upside down. After the third day, the work became our new normal. Our work at Sacred Heart consumed our thoughts, and everything we did was based in a humanitarian effort. We had purpose, a goal, and a plan to reach said goal.

We got used to seeing the same people every day. Deputy White, Dr. Spradley and her team, Eddie Canales. We ate the same lunch, cheers-ed the same drinks. We blogged and mapped and filled out photo logs. Day in and day out we worked towards our goal.

Angela, Arianna, and I raising a new flag at a water station
Angela, Arianna, and I raising a new flag at a water station

Then, we left. Our work ended abruptly. We packed, drove out of Falfurrias and flew home. We took the glasses off and the world flipped upside down again.

I slept all day on Sunday, filled to the brim with cold and flu medicine. I wasn’t able to fully process being home. Sleeping in my own bed, wearing clothes that weren’t field clothes, watching TV, etc.

Then, I woke up on Monday and dug out my heavy winter coat. I swept the six inches of snow off of my car, and drove to school. I had no real purpose, goal, or plan. I didn’t even have a notebook.

Everything I am doing is to make myself a better anthropologist, a better scientist, so that when I am able to return to the field, I will do better work than the time before. However, not being in the field, being active in my efforts seems like a waste.

It’s almost 48 hours into the 72 it should take me to readjust, but I have a feeling my right side up will continue to be in Falfurrias.

I want to use this space to express my gratitude.

Thank you to my team. Thank you for your support and for making this one of the best experiences of my life.

Thank you, Dr. Latham, for giving me this opportunity and being an amazing force of change.

Thank you, Arden, for bringing both an incredible perspective and humor to this work.

Thank you, Sammi, for making all of the maps and being a digging machine.

Thank you, Angela, for being a great field mentor and bucket carrier, and for giving me all your carbs.

The team at La Mota
The team at La Mota

Thank you, Dr. Spradley and the people of Texas State, for allowing us to join you.

Thank you, Deputy Don White, for keeping us safe and always laughing.

Thank you, Sheriff Benny Martinez, for believing in our mission.

Thank you Eddie, Arianna, and Selina for doing humanitarian work daily and allowing us to join you for part of it.

Thank you, Sister Pam, for radiating pure love more than any person I’ve ever met.

Thank you, Dr. Bird, for your support for our work.

Thank you to the Clarks for allowing us into your beautiful home.

Lotería painting showing Falfurrias Butter at La Mota
Lotería painting showing Falfurrias Butter at La Mota

Thank you, Falfurrias. I’ll be back.



From the Alamo to Snow

Today was our travel day from Falfurrias home to Indianapolis. After packing and cleaning the rental van, we got some breakfast taquitos and started the drive to San Antonio. We had time to see the Alamo, the River Walk and get lunch before heading to the airport.

The Alamo
The Alamo
The River Walk
The River Walk

A day of sight seeing and learning more about Texas history is always a good transition day for the team. While we are working however we can to contribute to this work from afar, we are only in Texas for two intense humanitarian missions per year. I’ve seen it is often a difficult transition for the team to go from dedicating 15+ hours per day to this mission, to waking up in their own beds. They go from using this passion and drive to work on a large scale humanitarian project to push through any physical or mental strain of their own to the comfort and privilege of their own homes. They are sore, physically exhausted and emotionally drained and this initial quiet time is often a difficult and powerful time of reflection for them.

We returned to Indianapolis late and were welcomed by seven inches of snow!

Indiana Snow
Indiana Snow

Please continue to check the blog daily over the next week as we post our reflections and ways that you can contribute, if interested, to providing dignity in life and in death.