Southern Hospitality

Metal grave marker reading "Unknown Female Remains"

What I do is not very glamorous.  I specialize in forensic anthropology, in short I deal with dead things (specifically bones).  When I tell people that I specialize in forensics, I am usually greeted with a disgusted “Why?”  Occasionally, people are intrigued.  In Falfurrias, the community has been nothing but appreciative.

I don’t know what I was expecting the first time we travelled to Falfurrias.  Initially I thought we would be faced with hostility.  Immigration and border issues are a hot-button issue.  Border concerns are incredibly politically volatile and polarizing.  I was certain that our human rights work would not be well received or at the very least misunderstood.  I could not have been further from the truth.  Instead of fear and animosity, the community has truly embraced our work.  I never could have anticipated the reverence given by this far-away community that I now love as my own.

The people of Falfurrias never asked for death at their doorstep.  They are merely the victims of circumstance.  The community had no means of dealing with a tragedy of this magnitude.  Our work, however slight it may be, helps to ameliorate this crisis.  While what we do is no quick-fix, we offer whatever assistance we can.  Our work is not a solution- it is but a bandage on a very deep wound.  Hopefully, more exposure will bring more assistance and discourse to help solve this problem.

We could not do this work alone.  In fact, we are tourists in this problem.  We are here for a few weeks a year to lend whatever assistance we can.  We stand shoulder to shoulder with a force of amazing individuals; the people of Falfurrias, the professors and students of Baylor and Texas State, and the local police and border patrols.  They face these issues every day, and should be recognized as the true heroes for this cause.