Preparing for this trip has been a daunting task. To get ready, I’ve been focusing on educating myself. Through many hours of reading and conversation, I’ve realized that my previous way of thinking must be dismantled. It was either too simplistic or full of preconceived notions founded on incorrect information. The past few weeks have been a difficult but good process of reshaping the way I think so that I can start to understand the nuance and complexity of the border crisis. I do not doubt that this will be an ongoing process and my mind will be changed many more times before we return home. Ultimately, this is a good thing and I welcome the opportunity to humbly learn from others.
This has not stopped me from being apprehensive, though. If I had to put a name to my whirlwind of emotions surrounding our impending departure I’d have to go with cautiously eager. I am eager because I want to be a part of work that will help people. I hope this will be the first of many opportunities for me to work in a humanitarian setting. There is also a strong desire to learn. There is so much about the emotional toll and local environment that I won’t be able to understand until I am in the midst of it. I am cautious because it is all very new and intimidating. I understand that no matter how much I have read or discussed with past team members, very little will be what I expect. I suspect emotions will be running high both within our team and in the community of Eagle Pass. I remind myself that things will likely not go according to plan. I am determined to remain flexible through it all. Cool heads, positive communications, and teamwork will hopefully get us through any hiccups without too much difficulty.
As I double and triple-check my packing list I remind myself that plans aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Staying malleable will be essential during this trip. Remaining open to opportunities to learn and grow in the moment will be more productive than anything I could have ever prepared for.