As I reflect on my experience and my journey I am in awe of the path I have taken. I watched the first of many presentations on Brooks County my fall semester of 2013 and I was amazed at the work that was being done there. Knowing that it was a field I would want to pursue I was captured by every word Dr. Latham said. After receiving the invitation to become a part of the team, it did not take me long to respond “of course”. I was no longer a spectator. I became a member of the team and I listened to stories and more presentations, each one capturing me like the last. Then the day grew nearer, then I was in Falfurrias. Participating and helping the team accomplish another feat as they looked at me as one of their own. Throughout the whole trip I thought once I learned something that was it, however I was mistaken. I learned something every day I was in Falfurrias and I will never forget any of those things. I was able to spend two weeks with amazing people and would not trade that for anything. I cannot thank Dr. Latham enough for allowing me the opportunity to be a part of this miraculous group. My eyes have been opened to the situations that people are being faced with every day from the ranchers, to city officials, to the migrants and the community, to all the volunteers assisting. Everyone has a role to play and I am thankful that I was able to do my part.
We have one day left and we are so close to finishing our goal. There have been great relationships formed and lasting friendships. The reality of the situation has hopefully opened the eyes of every individual that has been here. A lot has taken place since my last post. We have been moving a lot of dirt and doing everything we can to get through this area thoroughly. I have been promoted from Rookie to Expert Time Keeper. For those of you who do not understand the weight of this title, I am responsible for the switch between the members working in the hole and those taking a break. The official time rules are: 1. If you are shoveling you get 4:00 minutes. 2. If you are troweling you get 8:00 minutes. 3. Test pits are one per person. Those are the official rules then there are laws. The first law of “DIGANOMICS” is if you are tired regardless of the time you stop digging. The second law is if you trowel and dig within the same 4:00 minute span you can stay for an additional 4:00 minutes unless it interferes with the first law. The team has accepted my role as Expert Time Keeper and sometimes they think I may not be watching but I always am.
Last time I posted I explained the issue with the little shovel and let me start by saying I am slowly persuading the team to accept the little shovel. However this is the not being done without ridicule. Any given moment I have to defend the little shovel from short and small jokes but LITTLE do they know the little shovel is reigns supreme. Each member but one has requested the little shovel at one point in time, and each time I hand then the shovel there is a wonderfully pleasant smile on my face. Justin, Erica, Dr. Latham, Ryan, and myself have all realized the usefulness of the little shovel. BUT Jessica is resisting coming to the bright side, I have not given up hope there is always tomorrow.
I also went to another ranch. Lately I have been taking a short lunch so not very much bird watching. However I made it up when we went to the ranch. I have 5 birds of the day. 1 being the best bird of that day, starting at 5) wild turkey, 4) Tree duck 3) Swainson’s Hawk 2) Peacock 1) Green Jay. It was a much needed day of relaxation and bird watching and I cannot thank Bill and Peggie Clark enough for allowing us that moment of serenity.
Today had its highs, lows, and in between. Once again late to breakfast I will be on time tomorrow (maybe). Once we got to the site we got started right away, we set a goal and we were able to accomplish our goal by the end of the day. However there has been a controversy among our group. This has started to be a serious issue among our team. There are two types of shovels on site, a tall shovel and a short shovel (with a handle). You see, I am considered an average height individual and the tall shovel literally comes to my head. So why use a shovel almost taller than me. I have been trying to convince the team that the short shovel is better and they should all convert to the short shovel. However they constantly disagree and persist on using the tall shovel. But little do they know they will slowly start to change their minds and eventually before the trip is over they will all convert to the short shovel. I already have witnessed Dr. Latham using the short shovel and I personally think it’s a good look. Other than that everything is great on scene and this is a great group of people. After the work on scene I was ready to take a nap and get ready to for the amazing dinner at Arturo’s house I have been told about. But before I was able to take my nap I was offered a chance to go to a ranch.
I had my own idea of what a ranch looked like and I was so far off. The idea of a ranch that I always imagined was wide open green acres, horses roaming freely, and a picture perfect landscape. When we got out there I saw high grasses and random spots of small trees with spiny thorns and areas of gathered wood. Nothing orderly or systematic about the land. I was able to freely explore and learn about. Lavoyger (the security manager) took us to an area where migrants come and camp for the night. A couple of the members of the group and myself walked through the area and gazed at all the torn clothes and empty bags on the ground. Empty jugs, cans, and bottles were scattered around the area. All of this was such an eye opener. We were discussing this scene and expressing how sad the situation was and how hard it would be to imagine being in this situation. And then it dawned on me that when the migrants make it to that area they are feeling a sense of accomplishment. They are so close to their destination and know that they have possibly made it through the worst of their travel. When I realized the perspective difference of the situation it was mind boggling. Something so bizarre and incomprehensible to us is welcoming and achievable to them.
After the ranch we were invited to the constable’s house for dinner. It was quite an experience. The food was amazing and I am glad I was properly introduced to cowboy bread. The hospitality that we have received is so welcoming and I am grateful to everyone who has lent a helping hand.