Monday, October 31, 2011

Heading to Tucson and Borderlinks

Last Sunday, Eric and I relaxed in our old digs in Nogales and the next day (last Monday) we took the shuttle up to Tucson.  We wanted to visit some organizations in Tucson, work on the bikes and see some friends.  We planned to stay just a few days, head back south and visit some people in Nogales before heading east again.  However, on Tuesday evening, Eric crashed his bicycle and sprained his ankle.  He did not see a doctor, but a paramedic friend looked at it and some other medical folks have shared good advice.  It appears that he just overextended some ligaments or tendons, but after several days of resting here in Tucson, they are improving each day and we are hopeful that we will get back on the road in the next couple of days. 

Our first meeting in Tucson was with Susanna and Elsbeth at Borderlinks.  Borderlinks is a binational experiential education project that began in 1988.  They bring groups from all over the world (but mostly from the U.S.) on educational border trip that can last from 1 day to 3 weeks. And they are good at what they do--they have 50-60 trips every year!  Participants are mostly from universities, but also church groups, seminaries, youth groups, and more.  Each trip has a leader from the United States and Mexico and they mostly stay along the border, but now also offer trips to Copper Canyon in Chihuahua, Mexico and Chiapas, Mexico and around the United States to explore topics of immigration, sustainability, etc.

A wall depicting what a trip with Borderlinks may include

A traditional border trip would include visiting organizations and people in and around Tucson and other communities on the border, sometimes traveling south to Nogales, Altar and/or Agua Prieta.  They examine the issue of immigration and talk to people affected on both sides of the wall.

Also, a huge focus of the trips is on sustainability and the groups all eat vegetarian meals during their stay, with an emphasis on local and organic foods.  The yard of Borderlinks also offers examples of other ways to live sustainably with native plants, rain harvesting systems and a grey water washer.

Cubicle dormitory at Borderlinks!

It is amazing to see this great work being done on the border!  I led immersion groups in El Paso for a while and I think education, especially about issues like immigration, is the key to making the world more just.

Borderlinks employees Elsbeth and Susanna


  1. I hope Eric's ankle heals up soon.

    It's so wonderful to learn about all the other amazing organizations that are helping migrants, educating others, and trying to make the area safer and more peaceful!

  2. borderlinks is great - we made a great educational trip to "Ambos Nogales" with UUA-PSWD youth and adults, I learned so much and made friends on both sides of the border. will come back soon..