The Spring Program, Roots and Routes of Migration, immerses students in the complex questions surrounding the US/Mexico border. Migration, border enforcement, human rights, and global inequality are central themes explored during this semester in the borderlands. Homestays, coursework, internships with local organizations, and travel in Arizona, Sonora, Guatemala, and southern Mexico are the components by which students develop a comprehensive analysis of both border and global issues.
Monday, April 1, 2013
From the Concrete Jungle to Desert Life
When I first heard that I would spend a
semester in the desert I pictured vast open land with a few cacti along with
perhaps some tumbleweeds mysteriously blowing through with the wind. Honestly,
as a Queens girl, that is all I had seen on TV about the desert. And since
staying in Tucson for a couple of weeks I realized that my conception of this
desert had been completely wrong.
To me, the desert is life.
Here we have wildflowers, barrel cacti,
chollas, prickly pear cacti, saguaros, mesquite, paloverde… (and these are just some of the deserts plants I
know, I am still learning the rest).
By day, hummingbirds and bees fly
past you, lizards, and roadrunners scurry by you, snakes and scorpions rest
nearby and a variety of birds are heard chirping their tunes. By night, the coyotes,
jackrabbits, bobcats and javelinas come out to start their day.
These new sounds at night were new for
me. In Queens, I usually fell asleep to the sounds of cars and people
obnoxiously passing through my block. But in Tucson, I was introduced to the
calls of coyotes and javelinas.
I remember that in my first days
of Tucson I felt like I was on another planet, exploring and discovering (at
least for me) exotic plants and animals. But ultimately, I began to respect and
love this type of habitat.
From afar, I understood the
construction of the border wall to be a political and sociological issue. But
because I was not familiar with the desert region I did not immediately connect
to how the construction of the border is an ecological problem as well.
As my peer Katherine described in
the last post, Sky Island Alliance and Sierra Club Borderlands taught us how
the construction of the border has already impacted desert life.
Unlike the dominant views of this
current society, the land recognizes no borders. If you drive south from Tucson you see that for miles and miles the landscape
is the same as the one in Northern Mexico. The only demarcation of difference
is that you had to a pass a boundary line to get from one place to another.
Currently, four senators of the
Gang of Eight recently visited the border region in order to advocate for the
further militarization of the border. It is so easy to approve an order like
that if you do not value and respect this land and the life it sustains.
Therefore, John McCain and Jeff
Flake of Arizona, Michael Bennet of Colorado and especially Chuck Schumer of
New York go on a hike trail, perhaps camp for a day or two. This desert is more
than you think.