Wednesday, March 13, 2013

My first impressions, thus far

Hello everyone my name is Jackie O’Dell, this is my first year on the trip, and I am a Senior at the College of Wooster. I finished my independent study this past Friday before coming on this trip, woohoo! I had a little different experience than everyone else in coming to Tijuana in that I took a separate flight which got changed multiple times causing me to have to walk across the boarder.
Walking across the boarder was not what I expected. Caren, Jill, Jordan, and I took a trolley (more of a train or tram if you ask me) to the border and began to follow the people between two buildings. It was kind of like an alleyway and in the middle were two guards chatting away and not even looking at the people. We passed them and arrived in Tijuana. They did not check my passport, look at me, or stamp my book. I was never so thankful to see a familiar face (Rena) and she took me to the van which we took to the posada.
First impression of the posada is simply beautiful! The flowers, court yard, and bright colors, pictures do not do it justice. Over the past few days I have many observations of which I will list.
  1. The poor plumbing means that you can not flush toilet paper and therefore you have to throw it away. Gross at first, but you get use to it.
  2. At the work site on Monday there were Esperanza people and male community members. These men seem very sexist. The women had to go bend wire while the men build the siding to the house. The next few days were better at the other work site where the community members that came to help were women.
  3. The juxtaposition between the landscape and the homes is gorgeous. I think this is the most beautiful place that I have ever visited!
  4. Traffic signs are more of a suggestion than a law. This became frightening yesterday on our way to the work cite. As we were looking at a giant statue of Jesus, a semi came within two inches of side-swiping us, causing us to scream “Jesus.” The moment was much funnier after we were safely on the highway.
  5. The people here are amazing. The care deeply for their community (which can be seen when they come over to help) and when we speak of why we are here to strangers, they thank us on behalf of their country.
  6. At the orphanage we made bracelets with the little girls. One in particular was less than two years old. She made me help her with her bracelet which had to be every other color (pink and purple). Then she taught me some words in Spanish. She was so smart!
  7. Final thought/story. We went to the deportation house today. This is where those sent out of the US can go to get back on their feet/ re-gather their lives (for 12 days).  The gentleman I spoke with said he has lived in the US since 1997 and has a wife and three children. He also has a painting business. He happened to be stopped on his way home from work for having a tail light out. The police asked for his papers which he does not have; he was born in Honduras. He said he was placed on a train without being able to notify his family. He does not want to go back to his country because he has a tattoo. If this is seen in his conservative country then he will be shot. The US is his country now and he will do anything to get back to family. It was heart wrenching!

Thanks for reading, I hope it wasn’t too long. ~Jackie

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