[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text letter_spacing=””]Today we went to the Mexican side of Friendship Park. We worked with Daniel, the founder of Friends of Friendship Park. Our group pulled weeds, reorganized the compost bin, and fixed the park grounds. It was a real eye opening experience because on the weekends the US visitors are allowed to have contact between the Mexican side and US side from 10-2. Later in the day we witnessed a church service for people on both sides of the border. It was a very moving day. We were witnesses to all types of interactions. Mothers crying while touching their pinkies to family on the other side, a Mexican man trying to practice his English with the US visitors. We even experienced the Mexican military search for immigrants from Central Americans to deport back to their home countries. Today was humbling.
It is hard to understand the pain a fence causes to both Mexican and American citizens. We had dinner last night with a woman who was deported 2 years ago from San Diego. Her four children are US citizens. Her family is separated. While Sylvia told us her story, tears rolled down her face as her 10 year old daughter held onto her hand. At lunch today we had the opportunity to eat with four Hondorans who are looking to find work in the US. One had crossed the border 8 times, eventually being deported all 8 times. Others had crossed successfully, then eventually were deported as well. When told they should turn around and just go home, they stand tall with determination and pride. They will try to jump the border wall until they are successful, or until they die. The wall symbolizes hope for a better life as well as the pain because of the failed attempts at crossing.
The difference between the United States side of the border and Mexico is dramatic. The Mexican side is full of life. Food vendors rang bells, citizens played on the beach, and art fills the border wall. The United States is empty. The fence is plain, only occupied by the Border agent dressed with guns and a bulletproof vest. It’s hard imagining people wanting to be on the US side due to its lack of life compared to the Mexican side. A feeling of despair overwhelmed us when the Mexican side was filled with 10 times more people than the US, knowing that they have a very unlikely chance of becoming part of the United States.
As we head into the next few days of our trip we listen to stories with a new perspective on what it means to hold a US passport, and how fortunate we are to come home to loving families.