“How can we hold in mind all those faces we cannot see from the narrowing perspective of living in this nation-state? I felt a taste of hope in knowing I can commit to acts of translation. I think this might be the only way we can begin to navigate the invisible ruins of our own homeland.”
In January of this year, eleven of our students and two faculty members took a week-long trip to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Our mission was one of immersion and exposure with the goal of developing a deeper understanding of the undocumented immigration experience of those in Central and South America. Within the context of cultural competency and training, our mission blossomed into something far greater than we had anticipated.
Together, we learned profound lessons that helped foster a more conscious awareness. Lessons stemmed from conversations with survivors of oppression at Caminanos Juntos, an organization that helps migrants and deportees find work and shelter in San Miguel de Allende—to conversing with the founders of ABBA, a house devoted to meeting the most basic needs (including shelter, food, water, and support of legal and psychological services) of migrants crossing through Mexico to reach the Mexico-United States border.
Throughout our time in Mexico, we attended intensive Spanish courses, some of which included practice conducting asylum interviews and learning psychological terminology in Spanish. One of the most memorable and heart-warming visits was our visit to El Centro Infantil, where we danced and created art projects with more than fifty children of single mothers whose partners have migrated to the United States.