I cannot believe that we are leaving for Texas in less than two weeks. It seems like just yesterday that we had our first group meeting, learning what this field season is going to entail. I have been so busy with finals and the end-of-the-semester scurry to get tasks finished that this timeline hasn’t really sunk in. Now that the semester is over and I have no more deadlines to meet, this experience is becoming more and more real to me. I am starting to feel nervous and anxious, not knowing exactly how this experience will challenge me both physically and emotionally. Despite the nerves, I am so excited and filled with gratitude about participating in this wonderful effort.
Ever since I learned about the humanitarian work my school is involved in down in South Texas, I’ve known that I wanted to be a part of it. I have been given the amazing opportunity to participate in the excavation of migrants who perished crossing the border, and it is my first time joining this effort. I have tried to prepare myself by reading the blog and hearing stories from those who have participated in past field seasons, but I don’t think I will ever be truly prepared for what I am going to experience down there.
We were just informed that in addition to exhuming remains from Sacred Heart Cemetery, we will also be volunteering at the Sacred Heart Humanitarian Respite Center. Here, we will be assisting migrants as they prepare to meet their family members awaiting them in the United States. I am excited for this experience, but also a little anxious. I cannot imagine what these individuals went through in the detention centers, and I cannot fathom the emotions they are feeling when they arrive at the Respite Center. Growing up in Michigan and now living in Indiana, I have not been exposed to or personally affected by the crisis on the border. Volunteering at the Respite Center will be my first personal experience with this crisis, and I think it will challenge me the most. Click here to read more about the Sacred Heart Humanitarian Respite Center on our blog.
As for now, I will begin packing and gathering all the additional items I will need for our 10 days in Texas. These next two weeks I will spend educating myself more on the border crisis, while trying to mentally and physically prepare myself for this endeavor. I am so incredibly grateful for this opportunity and the experiences I will gain from it. I hope that I am able to give as much as I know I will gain.