Migration & Culture/Koptiuch
Nogales Fieldtrip Reports

Dawn Zanda

The BorderLinks trip on October 4, 2001, for the Migration and Culture class was truly an amazing experience.  To choose one experience/area/site that stands out the most is a tough job.  Between seeing the first sites as we approached the border of Nogales, the Grupo Beta meeting, the Colonia Colloseo and lunch with Dona Ophelia, the Maquiladoras, spending time with Madre Soccoro, or at the end seeing the deportation bus returning "illegal aliens"  - each was an experience in their own way.  So, even though this paper has been changed to 1 - 2 pages, I still want to comment on three areas (sorry Dr. K). I would like to touch briefly on the "wall"/border, lunch with Dona Ophelia and seeing the deportation bus.

If I had to assume, everyone has seen the "wall" between the USA and Mexico at least once, whether it was in real life, a picture or a movie.  But to see the border and the patrol cars "sitting their x" to remind the people of Nogales, basically, "you are not wanted here," was an eye opener to how great American citizens have it living in the USA.  To come and go as we please, to travel from state to state or country to country so much easier then the citizens of Mexico, and to have shelter that keeps us warm and dry - no one can say they are not truly blessed!

As we approached the Colonia Colloseo to have lunch with Dona Ophelia this again was another heart felt eye opener.  The people who live in the Colonia’s do the best with what they have - I do not know that I could do it.  But I suppose that if this is all you have then you make due and be thankful for the things you do have.  The families in the Colonia and surrounding area have fought (and some are still fighting) for a place to call home. A home with unstable foundation, cardboard or plywood walls, with no running water, no facilities, no carpeting, no furniture (barely), no decorations -the material things others take for granted - but what they did have is family, love and GOD. To have so little, compared to us, and be so thankful, they are truly special people.

And last, seeing the deportation bus at the border was an image that will forever stay with me. As these people shuffled off the bus, with everything they owned in a garbage bag and some less than that, there were no tears but you could see the sadness in their eyes.  Children hanging on to their mothers, returning mothers/wives who probably were trying to reach fathers/husbands, returning sons and fathers that were trying to get a better life for their family, they were all returning to "home"...probably not.  Returning to a home that may not be there any longer or maybe that home is still there but taken over by another, the feeling of disappointment and let-down, but all probably with the same goal tomorrow...to return to the fence again and fight their way to a better life, a better job, a better home but most of all FREEDOM!

This was an experience that will always live in my heart to remind me that as American citizens "we" do live in a great nation, "we" are not perfect, and "we" do need improvement in certain areas but I am glad to call this "home."

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