Demolishing Our Roadblocks

The past couple days have been filled with frustrations and successes, making the highs and lows of a day so dramatic it is difficult to adapt emotionally.  We have three days left of excavations in the cemetery.  It seems like we just got started this year and already it is coming to a close.  It seems as if we never left last year.

Justin dumping a bucket of dirt with an unknown remains burial marker closer to the camera

University of Indianapolis photo by Guy Housewright

Yesterday we completed our first quadrant.  This time last year we were on quadrant 3 or 4, and they were larger areas.  It is frustrating because we all feel we should be doing more, be more efficient, work harder, work longer, take less breaks, clear more area in far less time.  It is difficult to keep in mind that the area we are in this year is completely open with less shade, smaller so that teams are on top of one another, and that the ground is harder with more compact soil than takes more effort to cut through.

It is also difficult to remember that we are human too, and can only do so much in one day.  We move all the dirt we shovel and trowel by hand.  We also have to carry it further because of the small area confining the locations we can pile our cleared dirt.  We have to take frequent breaks that we see as inconveniences, just so that we can stay hydrated so we can work harder and longer, and so the indescribable Texas sun does not make us collapse in defeat.

In addition to this we are all in leadership roles because of our experience and training.  We love this, but it is yet another difficulty we face when we try to measure our success by how much area we have cleared of unknown individuals.  The more we can recover and clear, the more that have a chance at being identified.  It is so important to work slowly and methodically, and to be 100% positive that we miss no one.  If we do it may be years before we can get back to go through that section, if ever.  We consider it unacceptable.

All of these factors, and more, put a lot of additional pressures on our team.  It affects us all differently.  We have written several posts on what we think the migrants face when they arrive in Brooks County, yet we have no idea really.  What we perceive they face is probably very different than what they actually face.  That alone is difficult to absorb.  We have not really written much on ourselves.  Due to the fact we get extremely uncomfortable and awkward when speaking of ourselves, our feelings, our emotions, and our experiences.  It is hard because we just think our words simply can’t convey it adequately.

For my team, we need to remember that we have an incomparable work ethic, our motivations and drive will never fail us, and we cannot be deterred by simple frustrations, no matter how they may pile up.  We have our goals, and we will complete them because there is no other option.  We will adapt to our daily challenges and overcome every one of them because we do work so well as a unit.  Our physical and emotional capacities, while they may be strained, will also not fail us, they instead grow and strengthen with every person we meet in this journey, particularly those already mentioned throughout these blog pages.  What we have achieved so far is incredible, and we are not done yet.

Group picture in work clothes with sister PamThanks to the support from all the wonderful people we have met (and will meet) and encouraged us every day.  A special mention to Sister Pam who joined us for a couple days and has asked us questions we haven’t thought to answer since we first got involved with this crisis in Falfurrias.  She has been so moved by what we are doing she has actually reminded us of our motivations at a time when we greatly needed it.