Memoir of the Mexican Border

By Abigail Keefe
November 15, 2001

He was sleeping when I first saw him. His dusty hair was every which way. He wore a pink and white floral pajama set. He napped on an old, beat-up couch next to his brother and his sister who slept in a toy-filled crib. His mother had left the morning before, claiming to be going shopping for a few hours. She never came back. His name was Jamie. I instantly fell in love.

This past May, I traveled a world away to the Texas/Mexico boarder with 11 other students and Mary Laver, coordinator of community outreach and service learning. We traveled by plane before America was afraid to fly. We landed in Texas.

David, a volunteer at the charity houses that we stayed at, served as our tour guide. He picked us up at the El Paso airport in an old, white van.

During the first three days of our week-long trip, we stayed on dusty mattresses in Anapra, Mexico. Anapra is a colonious of El Paso. After crossing the cultural and national boarder by van, we played soccer with the kids in the neighborhood. We couldn’t communicate verbally , but we could all smile. We could all laugh. We thought we could all play soccer, but those children kicked our butts.

The first night in Anapra, we sat on the front porch of the stone house we stayed in. The front faced the American boarder. A mile from where we stood, there were high buildings, bright lights, many cars and a train track. On the side that we stood, there were many tiny, makeshift homes with sparse electricity. The view was beautiful, however, filled our hearts with sadness. It is a culture shock how people can live so close to one another, yet live such different lives.

While in Anapra, we visited a library run by an amazing woman named Kristina. She told us how her colonious, which is severely poverty-stricken, is overrun with drug and alcohol abuse. She told us how many of the children in her neighborhood are physically and mentally abused. While the main focus of her library is to educate, Kristina also emotionally supports the children who come to her to learn.

After our stay in Anapra, we traveled back to the United States. We went to Immigration Court and watched as nine men were tried for crossing the boarder and sent back to their respected countries. The Honorable Judge Penny M. Smith presided. She could have been the spawn of Judge Judy and Anne Robinson. She treated the men as if they were animals rather than human beings.

We also heard the stories of many other people who live in Mexico, or who are fleeing for a better life in America. One of the nights of the trip, we stayed in a shelter in El Paso for Mexicans who snuck across the boarder with hopes of starting a better life. I washed dishes with a few of the men after dinner one night. Our conversations consisted of a lot of hand gestures and smiles. One of the men showed me a picture of his girlfriend who snuck across the boarder with another group. They had plans to rendezvous in Los Angeles.

During this Thanksgiving season, I can’t help but think back to my trip to Mexico. I met many people who go without much of what I take for granted. I mainly think about Jamie. I wonder if his mother ever returned and what happened to him and his brother and sister.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Abigail Keefe

Abigail Keefe is a Cabrini College student studying communications, enjoying her time in Radnor, Pennsylvania. Abbie loves working for the school newspaper, the Loquitur, and is also passionate about everything that the communication field has to offer.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Special Project

Title IX Redefined Website

Produced by Cabrini Communication
Class of 2024

Listen Up

Season 2, Episode 3: Celebrating Cabrini and Digging into its Past


Scroll to Top
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap