Tag Archives: crisis

The Tourist Returns…

Less than a week already! I am so thankful to have been chosen to be on this team once again. In my last blog post, I wrote about leaving Texas feeling like I was leaving with unfinished business, and I have thought about that since that day. The work done by the UIndy Beyond Borders Team is something I am so grateful to be a part of, and I am very ready to get back to work.

My last pretrip post was more about packing and food and very superficial things, simply because I didn’t have the experience or knowledge to even want to speak on what the next week would entail. Now, I am honestly worried about much different things. Of course, I still worry about packing the right elements for this trip. Texas heat in May is not for the faint of heart. I’ve been a part of many band camps in the Louisiana heat, and I am still worried about the heat. I’ve been trying to recall any advice from old coaches of how to keep cool, how to best stay hydrated, and how to fight off the swarms of mosquitos. I have not forgotten the hazards of hidden cacti and everything being sharp, but my biggest worry is rooted in the emotional perils that come with this work.

Texas ranch land

In January, we mostly encountered evidence of people passing through the areas we were searching, whether that was as recent as the night before or as long ago as us finding fully rusted cans as the evidence. We do this work to try and bring closure to the families who may have lost someone on this dangerous journey. After the trip in January, I feel as though I am so much closer to this cause than ever before. It’s very easy when working to compartmentalize the emotional and harder parts of the job, but I know this trip will impact me harder than ever before. Being more knowledgeable of the humanitarian crisis occurring at the US-Mexico border makes every step you take to find someone’s loved ones, to give help to those in need, to educate your community mean so much more than it ever had before. The more I learn about it, whether that is through reading about it, hearing someone’s personal account, or talking to those also involved in this work, the more I feel motivated to do everything in my power to help those affected by this crisis.

I’m looking forward to seeing Eddie and Don and everyone else who we worked with previously. By the end of the trip, I considered everyone a friend on top of being a teacher, a leader, and some of the most amazing people I’d ever met. Our team this May is made up of Dr. Latham, myself, Olivia, Jordan, and Austin. I am excited to see how we grow over this trip not only as teammates but friends as well.

See ya soon, Texas! Izzy

From one side of the border

It is my first day back in Indiana. Physically, I am here. I slept in my own bed last night, I visited my family today, and now I am sitting in my apartment writing this blog.  But my mind is still in Texas. My thoughts and feelings are back in Falfurrias, with the migrant communities. I am a person who takes things to heart, and it is not easy foDense treesr me to let things go. This is how I feel about the ongoing project in Texas and the situation as a whole, that is happening at the border. I can’t just ignore it now. Not that I have ever ignored it – but now I have seen it. Now I have been exposed, shoulders deep in the dirt, searching for unidentified migrants. Unidentified migrants who have families somewhere, looking for them. Looking for closure. Looking for any definitive answer about what has happened to them. Even receiving the worst news to a family member of an unidentified individual would be better than receiving no news. How can I throw myself into humanitarian work for a week and a half and allow that to be it? I could never allow this to be the end of what I can do to help.

This trip has added to the list of experiences in my life that have made me feel extremely lucky for what I have. I have a secure immigration status in the US. I have a permanent home. I do not have to fear deportation or being sent back to my home country on a whim. I do not have to worry about a wall separating me from my family. I do not have to worry about dangerous journeys to freedom. I am a middle class girl getting my Master’s degree. I am never hungry. I am never dehydrated. I never go without.

I wonder why. Why do I have all of these things and others do not. Because my parents had enough money and stability to comfortably raise two kids? Because of the color of my skin? Because I happened to be born in one place, a first world country, on the right side of an ocean or border instead of the wrong one.

Team member in a trenchWhat defines a human being? We are all the same species, no matter what race or nationality. It breaks my heart that some do not see it this way. Whether that be because of money or politics, in my opinion there should be no reason why one human life should be valued more than another. In the scope of human history, we have survived and thrived due to companionship and community. Wars and divides have only set us back. Why can’t there be the amount of compassion that we saw in the South Texas Human Rights Center or the Humanitarian Respite Center in every individual in this world? There would not be divides, there would not be boundaries and borders, but only love and compassion.

I want to emphasize that migrants are moving iLadder against a fence on a ranchnto the United States to seek ASYLUM. Because where they happen to be in this earth is not safe for their families, their women cannot receive an education, they cannot go to work without fearing that they may not come home, they cannot afford to feed their families. If someone you loved were in this situation, and came to you asking for help, why would you not allow them into your home?

As a forensic science graduate and a human biology student, to me, humanitarian work is the best application of my skills. Using my knowledge of science, archaeology, and skeletal analysis to help people who are less fortunate and who need help that my skills could provide. This trip has enforced this drive in me. Whether it be in Texas or anywhere else in this world, I feel a calling and a need to do this work. To bring closure to families who are in this position is the best outcome I could imagine for my education and training.

I would like to thank the Beyond Borders team, the University of Indianapolis, everyone who donated to our cause, and Dr. Latham for granting me the opportunity to experience this. I have learned so muTeam Photoch practically in my field and socially, too. I feel as though I have more of a purpose than I did 13 days ago. Thank you to everyone who followed our blog along this journey – and I hope you continue to follow in future field seasons.