[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text letter_spacing=””]Yesterday, we left the airport at around 2 pm and went to Chicano Park. Chicano Park is iconic in San Diego for the murals under the freeway. We walked around and did an ice breaker activity about what our intentions were coming on this trip. Mel, Grace and I were chosen at “random” to be the leaders for the first day. We led the ice breaker activity and the discussion at night. Each day three students will be the leaders throughout that day. Then, they will post to this journal at night. Hopefully, all students will get to go twice as leaders while we are here.
After the super cool (& historical) sights at Chicano Park, we all piled into a van and Alex’s car to drive to Jacumba. Alex is our guide for the trip and Carson and I rode with him in his car to Jacumba. He told us all about the terrain and what it takes for immigrants to cross the desert to get to the highway we were driving on. Jacumba is a border town more inland than where we are staying in Tijuana. The drive was about an hour and a half. Everyone was a little cramped, but we survived. The night at the church in Jacumba was a little rough because believe it or not…it was too cold. And we were sleeping on the floor. But mostly the cold, especially according to Grace. It was freezing. – Molly
The most fascinating part of yesterday, for me, was our walk along the border where we got to walk right up to the 20-foot high wall that is topped with layers of barbed wire. The structure continues east, up into the mountains. The terrain surrounding the wall is vast amounts of desert that is accompanied by scorching heat during the day: conditions that make this one of the most treacherous points to attempt a border crossing. Staring up at the wall towering over us, I couldn’t help but think about how the border seems so arbitrary. It’s nearly impossible to even begin to imagine making the decision to leave behind all that you know and risk your life to get into the US. We saw two Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) cars on the lookout and smoothing out the sand in order to make it easier to track footprints if someone miraculously managed to make it onto the American side. We learned that in an effort to obscure footprints and deter the CBP immigrants have often put their shoes on backward to make it appear as if they were indeed going in the opposite direction or tied long pieces of cloth to the backs of their shoes to wipe away any trace as they go. It is truly humbling to learn about the extreme lengths that these people go to in order to have a chance at a better life.