Counting Down the Days

There are a lot of emotions going through my head as I prepare for the journey to Falfurrias. Although my team has informed me on what I can expect to see, I know that nothing can truly prepare me for what I am about to embark on.

Although I have never been to Texas before, I have experienced the humid summers of New Jersey, spending my time off from school either mowing lawns or working at an outdoor flea market. I know what physical labor feels like in hot weather and how it takes a toll on the body. Luckily, I came well equipped with supplies to combat the weather in order to prevent it from becoming a hindrance to the job. The heat will be an obstacle, but it will also give me some perspective on what the migrant journey is like.

The environment itself will also be very new to me. From what I know about the land we are searching, it is mostly desert terrain. I am curious to see new wildlife and a different side of nature. As exciting as it is to see a different part of the country, I am also slightly worried about my lack of fieldwork experience. This will be my first true field search, not to mention in an unfamiliar area. I am truly honored to be a part of this team and I view this as an important learning opportunity for my career.

I also look forward to meeting new people. From what my team has told me, the individuals we will be working with in Texas are very welcoming and kind-hearted. It makes me happy knowing that there are still people in this world who genuinely want to make a difference in the world to benefit humanity. There is also so much to learn from meeting new people. If you pay attention, they will inadvertently teach you valuable lessons that can sometimes stick with you for a lifetime. In addition, I look forward to working with the rest of my team. Although we all attend classes together and see each other every day, this will be my first time working with them professionally. I hope we can find common ground to allow us to grow closer as a group. I believe a strong bond among a team facilitates more productive work.

Most importantly, I am looking forward to learning more about the perspective of the migrants and how our work makes a difference. Although I have been studying up on the crisis at the border in preparation for this trip, I hope to hear real stories from the people we meet that are grounded in the reality that many of us don’t regularly hear about. I want to know more about the real truth about this humanitarian crisis and experience the impact our work has had on the community for years. Yes, we are a group of forensic scientists who specialize in skeletal identification and field searches. However, by learning more about the story of why we are there, I can educate others on the complexities of this issue and why it isn’t as black and white as some may see it.