Understanding the Border Through Experiential Education

This story was originally published in the Union Collective Spring 2020 Issue
A group of EDS at Union students, staff, and one board member arrived at Casa Vides, a house of hospitality for migrants and refugees operated by Annunciation House, in El Paso, Texas, on January 10. For six days, they participated in a “Border Awareness Experience” aimed at introducing the group to the culture and realities of the many people and groups that live and work in the border region of El Paso. This pilgrimage was part of a semester-long focus on the experiences of immigrants and asylum-seekers, especially unaccompanied children. Participants were asked to reflect on this experience, and shared their thoughts with Union Collective.
What is an image that will remain with you from this pilgrimage?
Mary Barber, M.Div. ’21: The image that is sticking with me from the trip is the wall itself, the steel Bollard-style structure we saw, peered through, and touched. Through it is the Anapra neighborhood of Juarez, an impoverished shantytown created by U.S. policies that led to the flourishing of maquilas (sweatshops, most for U.S. companies) on the Juarez side of the border. There was suffering through that wall, surely, but all the life was over there. The U.S. side was desolate, military, dead. And it all felt so wrong, in a stark and tangible way. The image stays with me because there are borders and walls everywhere in our world. I was reminded on this trip of the fencing and razor wire that kept


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