I keep getting asked if I’m excited to go to Texas and I never know what to say. On one hand I am excited to get hands-on experience and to try to help in whatever way we can, but at the same time I feel like I can’t anticipate what we will encounter while we are in Texas. This is a very grave crisis happening in our own country and I myself haven’t put much thought into it in the past few years given my location. It makes me feel guilty that it only came back into my attention because it was something that could benefit me. I think that at the moment I feel more anxious, while in theory I know what we will be doing and can anticipate some of the challenges we’ll be facing, I know that there is a lot I don’t know. I’m looking forward to becoming more skilled in field techniques such as line searches and photography, and I’m looking forward to traveling and getting to experience even a fraction of what life is like in South Texas and understanding the difficulties of migrants forced to travel through rough terrain.
We are coming in effectively as foreigners. Meaning the culture in northern Michigan where I’m from is a lot different from south Texas. So, while I’m interested in seeing how “different” life is in Texas, I realize people living in border communities will view my experiences and perspectives as “different” as well. I recognize that my education and upbringing has given me privilege. I realize the way I say and approach things are a part of that privilege. I think that will be a big challenge for me, balancing my desire to help with my nervousness of doing or saying the wrong thing. I want to help in any way that I can, but I don’t want to give off the impression I think I can solve any part of this crisis.
We’ll only be in Texas for a week, and there’s only so much we can do to help in a week. So, we must push ourselves to get as much as we can get done safely and try to make as much of a positive difference as we can. Even though it is just a week I know we will do good work and through this blog hopefully show others that there is still a humanitarian crisis, and that the issues don’t end when the news stops reporting on them. While I am nervous and anxious about the work we’ll do in Texas I am also hopeful. I hope that what we do will help better the people affected by the migrant crisis, whether it’s a family member waiting for news on their missing relative, or a migrant who stops at a water station and gets a necessary break from their difficult journey. I think it will be important for us as a team to remind ourselves that whatever we get done is still progress, and by participating in this program and doing good work we can hopefully inspire more people in the future to donate their time or money to assist the volunteers who do this work in Texas year-round.