Having had our last day of fencing work at La Posada on Friday and a beach day yesterday, it felt only right to have today be an easygoing, relaxing one. There being just two days left in Texas before home sweet home, I spent the majority of the day with my group working on our final presentation. As Izabel Love briefly explained in her blog titled “Meeting All the Folks”, part of this course’s final is to create a 10-12 minute presentation on what we learned about the person we interviewed (for this year, everyone we interviewed is connected to immigration in some way), including the organizations/businesses they’re involved in. I am partnered up with Kelly Cortez, Anya Igel, and Giovana Gaona– all wonderful ladies I’ve gotten to know extremely well during this course! We interviewed Magda Boland, the Executive Director of La Posada Providencia. She shared some funny, honest stories about working at La Posada with us and it was an amazing experience being able to interview her in her native language (Spanish) and hear how the work she does at La Posada is fulfilling for her despite it not being all rainbows and sunshine. With the final presentation signaling the end of our time here together, you would think we would dread having to wrap things up here, but that is not the case!
We were so excited to write down our interview notes in our powerpoint slides, eager to share with the class all the wonderful and insightful information Magda shared with us. We spent our class work time laughing and bonding, happily “arguing” about the organization of the presentation, such as color schemes and photo layouts. It brings me great comfort knowing that we worked hard to do what we considered was unimaginable before this trip (build a fence) and that we were able to do so successfully while connecting with our SST leaders, the MDS workers, our guest speakers/interviewees, and with each other. I’m certain my relationships with most of my peers, and my outlook on immigration, will last outside of this course and for that, I’m eternally grateful.
We worked on our presentation from 4:00 pm up until dinner time. For dinner, some of my classmates cooked tostadas and chicharrones (fried pork rinds– tastes better than it sounds), and for dessert, we had brownies with berries— all yummy! Eating the tostadas and the chicharrones with Valentina hot sauce reminded me a lot of home in Fort Wayne, IN, with my family. My father is the tostada-maker in the family and I have spent countless nights with him eating Sabritones (basically vegetarian chicharrones with chile and lime) with Valentina, talking to him as he watches his fútbol games. I appreciated being able to eat foods that remind me of home with new friends. Afterwards, I was on cleaning duty with three other classmates. I personally love to clean—something my mother instilled in me at a very young age— so being able to do it with friends was a joy. Connie (our MDS volunteer cook) always jokes that we’ve taken over her kitchen because sometimes when it’s cleaning time, a lot more students than were assigned to clean help out in the kitchen. We dance and laugh as we get the job done.
If I had to say, however, the highlight of my day was the 10am thunderstorm here in Weslaco, Texas. For 18 days, we have been buckling under the Texas heat and humidity, but this morning was our first interaction with rain down here in Texas! Once I heard the rain, I ran outside. One classmate of mine was so eager about the rain, she swung on the swing-set for a bit during the heavy showers! A couple of my peers agreed with me that while we’ve experienced some tremendous thunderings in our lifetimes, this Texas storm takes the cake for the most booming thunder. I was ecstatic about there being rain down here before we left— one more special memory to add along with the others created during this May term course. I absolutely love rainy days— spoken like a true introvert.
-Melanie Aguirre, Goshen College Class ’24, American Sign Language Interpreter major