AHA student Demetria Poulus and Peg Bowden

Traveling to the United States-Mexico Border with the Schools Sisters of Notre Dame was an extremely eye opening experience. I left New Jersey with very little knowledge of what was happening on our border, and came back with stories and tons of information that I could not wait to share with everyone that would listen. Something that struck me the most was when we looked at a map of Arizona and it was covered in red dots, which symbolize where a dead body was found. This made me realize that so many places across the country don’t understand our issues of immigration because they aren’t directly affected by it; this made me want to share my story even more because migrants deserve to have recognition.

I also left Arizona and Mexico feeling every emotion possible; I was angry that many people aren’t aware of what is happening to migrants, sad that thousands of people have died searching for a better life, and also happy that migrants are so hopeful. I have never met a group of people more hopeful than I have on this trip; many of the migrants were robbed, beaten, deported, or live on hardly anything yet they have hope that life will get better.

We met many different people, but someone that will always be a part of my memory was Sandra. While we were in Mexico we met Sandra who lived in a one room apartment; she didn’t have a kitchen, appliances, or furniture, she only had a bed and a bathroom. Sandra invited us into her home and immediately started crying because she had never had visitors before. After she was deported she couldn’t find a job, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and she was hit by a car. This woman had so little, yet she opened her home to us and offered us a place to stay next time we were in Mexico.

From my first day in Arizona I knew I had to come back to the border, and Sandra’s story was the final thing that convinced me that I had to make it one of my priorities. After experiencing and observing everything from our trip it is impossible to simply forget about what you saw and heard, and not take action. I’m extremely grateful to have had this experience and it’s impossible to explain how much this has affected me. The people we met will always be in my memory and inspire me every day.

- Demetria Poulos, student, Academy of the Holy Angels        

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