Migration & Culture/Koptiuch
Nogales Fieldtrip Reports

Luisa Martinez
Journey Into The Other Side

The journey into Nogales, Mexico was a very interesting and touching experience.  BorderLinks, our class journey guide, was a very knowledgeable and well-organized group that guided us into the other side of the border.  After orientation we departed Tucson for Nogales, Mexico. Upon our arrival I was very surprised by the great wall that separated the U.S. and Mexico.  The statement of the wall was not invisible, but it was there standing in front of my eyes.  The wall stated, "U.S. territory does not want illegal individuals from Mexico into the U.S.", and the wall that separated the two countries was there to prove it.  Once we completed our immediate entrance into Mexico, we meet with Madre Socorro and our journey began.

Our next stop was meeting with Grupo Beta.  Grupo Beta is an organization sponsored by the Federal Government that discourages potential migrants from going into the United States, helps them find work in Mexico, and helps people who are in danger.  Because Grupo Beta was once affiliated with the police agencies, they experienced crime, traffic in drugs, and police were taking advantage of migrants.  I was very surprised to hear Ignacia, who spoke with our group, say that Grupo Beta was new and improved organization not affiliated with the police, therefore, they hired people who have experience with helping human rights, lawyers, doctors, and nurses.

After our visit with Grupo Beta, we had lunch in the Colonia Colosio.  Before arriving at Dona Ofelia’s home for lunch, I anticipated that the group would be having lunch in a closed building or home.  I was very surprised and sad to see that Dona Ofelia’s home lay on a dirt mountain and looked like a cardboard box.  I was heart broken, mostly for the safety and health for Dona Ofelia, her family, and those that lived near by.  Yet, once in their home, I felt a sense of a warmth atmosphere of a home.  At that very moment I knew the economic crisis in Mexico was extremely poor and there was no reason for me to ever complain about the way I lived.   In my heart and soul I wanted to help and give what I could to help families like Dona Ofelia and Madre Socorro for better living.

To conclude, my experience to Nogales, Mexico was very interesting and important, but I was ready to go home.  America is home, the land of the free and opportunities.  Many Americans, like myself, take life and freedom for granted each day, but the trip was a reality check, that opened my eyes, that I live a great life, compared to the people of Mexico.  The only possibility BorderLinks could have done to enhance our trip was to talk with border patrol agents at the checkpoint to get their view of migrants and immigrants crossing the border into the U.S.  I heartily recommend this class and the BorderLinks trip to future students or group organizations.

Return to Report Index

Return to Borderlinks 2001 home