It was a journey to remember, especially for us who travelled 8000 miles from the US to gain such an amazing experience. On a pleasant February morning, we woke up at 5 in the morning to prepare for our trip to Nogales- the split city of Arizona, which shares borders with Mexico.
The day-long trip included a visit to the Mission San Zavier del Bac. We experienced a visit to a vocational school, presentations by officers at the US consulate, met with the principal of the Pierson Vocational High School and lastly heard a fascinating presentation by the U.S. customs and border protection, and had a visit to Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s office.
The presentation of the friendly border patrol staff was an eye opener on many issues, such as how people try to migrate, and how the drug business is a pressing challenge in the border city. It was amazing to find out about the new technology that border patrol uses to find ways to control crime in Nogales.
A cross-cultural experience
Forty-four people from 23 different countries of the world boarded our bus that morning to go on a wonderful trip. This cross cultural experience itself was amazing; to be able to meet people from so many different countries of the world, and experience unique cultural experiences that exist in Arizona. We were a unique group comprised of teachers, public relations professionals, journalists, and human rights and law enforcement practitioners.
San Zavier del Bac
Visit to the Mission San Zavier del Bac was amazing. In the early morning sun the mission was glowing, looking like the ‘white dove in the desert’ in true sense. The 18 century church was an amazing cultural experience. The meeting with the San Xavier District secretary and learning about Tohono O’odham nation was amazing to know about Tohono culture. How they feel as a tribe, how they are trying to keep their languages which does not have any script, like many other tribal language in the world.
The split-border city has its own flavour. Our group was split into two groups and led by two friendly border patrol officers. It was interesting to know how U.S. puts an effort stop border crime, allegedly done by the Mexicans. The “cat and mouse game” that goes on between the border patrol and drug dealers is no less amazing than is shown in the Hollywood movies. There were numerous tunnels that the border patrol sealed with cement. At the same time they are open to regular citizens who would come to shop in the US-a majority of vegetables and other crops come to the U.S. from Mexico.
The trip ended with an exotic dinner at the Wisdom Cafe. This historical cafe was amazing, and its interior reflects the grace, wisdom and culture in the existing community.
Edited by Aimee Cash