Friday, June 24, 2016

El Paso 2016, Day 6 June 24

On our 6th day of being in El Paso we started off the day by eating breakfast, then making our way down to the agricultural center. A husband and wife, creating a place where field workers would be fed, and housed, established the agricultural center in 1983. This center helps over 100 workers per day, helping increase their salary, giving the proper basic needs, and a safe place to go home. The normal working day would be as followed: waking up at 12 a.m., going to work via bus (this could take up to 3 hours), getting to work at 5 a.m., and returning to the center at approximately 5 p.m. The Agricultural center has doctors come every Thursday to make sure the people staying at the center are not spreading pesticides or other diseases. The people who are housed at this center are not required to pay for their stay/visit, but they usually donate a dollar or two. The most they make per hour, in the El Paso area is about $7.25, but to compared to places, such as California, they make about 9 dollars an hour. (Unfortunately, many make far less)

The founder of the agricultural center, Alicia Marentes with Alejandro Marquez on the left.

Leaving the Agricultural center, we then needed to start to head back to the Annunciation House. On our way there we ended up stopping at a local convenient store, picking up two soccer balls for the kids at the house. We also got to explore with some new glasses! We also saw the bridge that connects the United States to Mexico, and a fantastic mural that was painted by a man who goes by the name of Werc. The reasons behind this painting are that he was a kid to grow up on the boarder and he wanted to show it through something more than just a book.

Going on with our day, we then walked to Annunciation House for lunch and played with the children one last time. This may have been one of the hardest parts of the trip so far to El Paso because the kids gave most of us a reason to look forward to our day. We will miss them all.

After going to Annunciation House we headed back to Casa Vides, and continued working on our service project. The people who were not painting cooked an amazing meal for the whole house.

After the amazing meal we went to a local concert at Al Fresco Friday with the whole house! The band that was playing was called Sobredosis Del Sabor. This was one of the best cultural experiences that we got to witness on this trip. Connecting with the Hispanic culture and dancing with the group, we would say that this was the best way to wrap up a final goodbye with everyone in the house.
The Concert we attended (A free concert in the park)…It was Salsa Night! (Almost everyone danced…)
We then said our final goodbyes by having a candle light circle expressing what we will be taking with us, and what we will be leaving behind. Saying goodbye is the hardest part, but the memories we have created will last forever.

See everyone tomorrow!

Yours truly,
Your favorite bloggers

The progress we have made on the mural


Thursday, June 23, 2016

El Paso 2016-Day 5, June 23, 2016

On our 5th day in El Paso, some students prepared a breakfast burrito bar including tortillas, chicken, eggs, onions, tomato, avocado, and special El Paso squash.  We ate breakfast early and the burritos fueled the day ahead of us.  A volunteer at Casa Vides, who is currently part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), spoke to us about us DACA and the application process.

After that, we took a walk to the Federal Court House of Western Texas in downtown El Paso. There, we observed a misdemeanor plea and sentencing for nine people who crossed the boarder illegally and were caught by border. It was very interesting to hear each of their stories through their responses to the judge and their attorney’s statements. After the sentencing ended, the attorneys on both sides, two border patrol agents, and two US Marshals talked to us and answered some questions. The federal prosecutor for the US Government addressed us personally and told us the challenges of finding a balance of being inclusive and helping people, but also enforcing the laws and keeping our country safe. Finally he told us to vote when we turn 18 so we can make a difference in our country.

We then headed to San Jacinto “Alligator” Square to debrief about the trial in small groups. We also enjoyed some ice coffee and fruit juice from a local shop. There we dug a little deeper into the challenges facing the community of El Paso, such as economic challenges, immigration, fear, and legal challenges.  After that, we went to the Annunciation House for lunch. It was a really good lunch and after that we had two hours to talk to and play with the kids at the house. We all love the kids there and we are sad that tomorrow is our last lunch at Annunciation House.

Next, we went to Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services (DMRS). DMRS provides free to affordable legal support for immigrants. A lawyer for DMRS spoke to us and basically took us step-by-step through the immigration process. She was very knowledgeable and taught us so much. After hearing her speak to us, we really realized how difficult the immigration process is and why many migrants enter the country illegally.

For the last activity of the day, we went to Father Bob’s house to watch a documentary on the Annunciation House called “An American House.” You can find this movie on The film was very moving and showed us again the importance of the house and how it changes people’s lives for the better everyday. After the film, Denali brought us some amazing pizza from a local pizza joint. Father Bob also made us some delicious limeade. We are so thankful for all of the chaperones and leaders and we are having a great time. See y’all Sunday morning with some new cowboy boots!

-From Your Bloggers!

Pictures of the Courthouse

Our Trip to Alligator Square

Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services (DMRS)

Our Time with Father Bob, and Pizza Party, and Movie