Looking Ahead

With the school semester at an end and winter break upon us, I realize that there is still much I need to do in order to prepare for my first season working with the South Texas Human Rights Center and the UIndy forensics team.  Between purchasing supplies, packing my bags, and brushing up on my Spanish language skills, I have found myself entirely occupied by what lies ahead in Falfurrias. I am an anthropology student and will be working as a participant observer in order to study the work being done concerning migrant death and identification in Falfurrias, TX.  Further, my work will include assisting the forensic team with the identification process in any way I am capable and qualified to.

This trip will consist of a lot of firsts for me. It will be my first time visiting Texas and the American South in general as well as my first time travelling via airplane.  Most importantly, this will be my first real experience completing ethnographic work where I will be immersed within the inner workings of such a complex humanitarian crisis.  Unsurprisingly, the newness of such an experience is both scary and incredibly exciting.

It is always impossible to know exactly what one will be doing on any given day, but this will be especially true during the eight days I will be working in Texas.  This makes it difficult to truly mentally prepare for the tasks ahead, but this also makes me even more excited to get started.  With so many people and organizations working to assist migrants and their families in this time of crisis, I cannot even begin to fully understand what all work goes into these efforts.

I was instantly intrigued when I first heard about the University of Indianapolis’ involvement in migrant identification.  My hope for this trips is to absorb as much information about the work being completed in the area as possible.  I am excited to discover the culture and meet the people of Falfurrias, and I am so incredibly thankful to have been given the opportunity to be able to witness it for my own.

Sarah

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