Tuesday, March 26, 2013
We started off our day by reuniting the group (since we had spent the night in three separate home stays . We headed to the Sierra Club in Tucson to meet with Dan Millis to learn about the harmful effects that the militarization of the border has had on the border and its various ecosystems. From there, we went to the desert lands near Arivaca. Here, ready with trash bags and gloves and coated with sunscreen and packed with water, we went on a desert walk to pick up the belongings that migrants had abandoned along the migrant trail. We walked under 88 degree weather and after some ten minutes of walking, we began to see objects: water bottles, clothes, backpacks, backpacks, and more backpacks. The road began more rugged and as we walked on further, being scratched and coming close to falling onto edgy rocks, we came across underwear, bras, toothbrushes, Colgate toothpaste, and ruminants of what once used to be deodorant. We came across shoes, boots mostly, bent and without soles. Upon reaching a place where Dan suggested we stop, the large group began to pick up the articles that immigrants had left behind. There were more backpacks, clothes, many with brands worn by school children in the US. They were colorless, bleached by the sun and coated with dry layers of dirt. Under a thorny bush, we pulled a corner of the backpack only to find three or four backpacks more. There was also a Minnie Mouse diaper and a plastic pink hair clip small enough to belong to a child. We had walked less than half an hour and yet most of us were exhausted and thirsty.
We returned to our air conditioned white vans carrying bags full of what had been the most vital possessions to the immigrants on that trail. In reality, we will never know what the people who travel these lands face. Our short-lived trip through that trail was evidence to us that the desert is unforgiving and what these migrants face is beyond explanation. We have a new found level of respect for the immigrants who come to this country looking for a better life.