July 28th Day One
Yesterday was a long travel day for everyone. After picking up everyone at the airport, we stopped for a quick bite to eat before crossing the border. Crossing the border at night ls a lot different than during the day. The border wall is lit up with security lights all along the border.
After a good night of sleep, we spent the morning getting to know each other more through team building games as well as time spent with the children in the orphanage. For many of the students, spending time with the children was the highlight of their day.
Lunch was at a taco shop in Rosarito, one of our favorite places with some great carne asada and adobada (marinated pork). Everyone got their fill of tacos. My favorite is adobada!
Then we headed to Friendship Park in Tijuana where you can walk up to the border wall that separates our two countries. On the south side of the wall, the Mexican people have made something difficult into an art piece. One student described the wall as “Heartbreaking Beautiful.” That is a great description of it. There are paintings of hope, sadness, and anger. One painting is an upside-down American flag, which is a sign of distress or help. There is a number of U.S. veterans who enlisted in the U.S. military, who had legal status, who have been deported once they got out of the service. Most suffering from PTSD, making a bad decision and then being sent to Mexico. On Saturdays and Sundays between 10 am and 2 pm, the United States opens the second wall so families can visit with the first wall separating them. It is the only place on the southern border where this happens.
On the Mexico side, it is like a party, mariachi music, churros carts, people not the beach, families enjoying each other. On the U.S. side, it is pretty barren with nothing for about 5-7 miles.
It is fun seeing everyone meeting new people and making new friends. A lot of card playing and bracket making while talking to each other.
Tomorrow we will divide into four workgroups. I will explain more about the workgroups tomorrow.