Facing La Frontera

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jun 20 2012

We Improvise :)



The book I ordered for the girl in Spanish was dropped off today. I opened the package, but when I went to set it with the other books, I realized…..this book is different than those. Wha?


I ordered her the book that is for incoming 8th graders.


Whoops. Total slip. So I did a quick check of the book that I MEANT to order, and it’s not available at all in Spanish. Therefore, I will get her this book, have her read it, and let her new teacher know that she had an alternative assignment. Then, hopefully next year, when she is going to 8th grade, she will be closer to a level where she could make sense of this book in English.

In other news, I crossed the border wall today although I wouldn’t have known if someone hadn’t told me.

We were riding in the school van, going to look at a historic site (Ft. Brown) in Brownsville. I had been to the UTB campus once, and so I knew it was literally on the border…the border bridge is essentially connected to the campus.

Well, this Ft. Brown is actually beyond the border wall. Still in the U.S…..it’s just that the border wall cuts into the U.S. So we drive through, and the park ranger says, “You wouldn’t think it, but that beautiful fencing is the border wall.”

Around the campus they make it look nice. We drove up a levee, on the “wrong” side of the wall, and stopped to see the sites (we never actually left the bus). I could see the river, and I could see Matamoros buildings just across the river. Border Patrol passed right by us, but the park ranger said that they’re used to tours, so they don’t often stop to inquire.

It felt very surreal, and it made me think about those families we’ve been discussing who have owned land on the border (the U.S. side) for, in some cases, at least a century, who are now on the “wrong” side of this wall. One parent was explaining that she worries when she leaves her kids at home because what if some catastrophe strikes while she’s shopping at HEB, they close the border, and she can’t get home to her kids. It’s crazy.

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