Today is our last day in the lab. It is day 11 of our trip, marking five days with the South Texas Human Rights Center, one day exploring San Marcos and five days at the Texas State University ORPL lab. There were many goals set for the week at Texas State with different groups aiming for different goals. There were individuals that needed intake and processing, personal items that needed cleaning and documentation, databases that needed updating, samples that needed to be obtained for molecular and histological analyses, photographs that needed to be taken, skeletal analyses that needed to be conducted and case reports that needed to be produced. All of these activities fall under the umbrella of Operation Identification, which is Texas State University faculty and students working together and with other organizations to identify and repatriate these individuals to their families. The UIndy team worked towards a goal of 15 skeletal analyses and case reports completed and that goal was met. Everyone celebrated a successful week with delicious grilled foods and fun at Dr. Spradley’s home. It was nice to see everyone out of the lab environment after spending a week working feverishly on the migrant identification efforts. It was fun seeing everyone out of their lab clothing, relaxed and enjoying the evening and conversation. We all needed to decompress after such an intense week of work.
These past two weeks went by both quickly and slowly at the same time. Each day flew by faster and faster than the the one before, yet it feels like so long ago that we were in Falfurrias. There is still a lot that needs to be done to wrap up our work this year once we get home. But it feels good leaving on a high note. Setting such high goals for ourselves was risky because there was always that question of whether or not we would get everything done. Leaving knowing we accomplished our goals is a good feeling amidst the sadness and complexities of this human rights issue.