The entire team – we were split into 2 groups. Half of us went to the women’s shelter, and the other half went to the comedor (dining room). This picture was taken after meeting R – I was wearing my sunglasses because I had just cried a lot and had very puffy eyes.
Lord, I pray that I am able to tell this story correctly and that I will always remember the emotions I felt, and the details currently ingrained in my mind, and that these words are glorifying to you. Amen.
Last week I met a man, and this man changed my life.
I was in Mexico last Saturday, near the U.S. border of Nogales, AZ. It was a warm day, about 96 degrees with little wind. My team was warned about the signs of dehydration; in the desert, you don’t realize how quickly you’re losing water until it’s too late. We were brought to a men and women’s shelter, which offers a place of refuge. Many of the people there were caught by border patrol and deported. The shelter was located in an eight-story apartment building complex. We climbed about four floors to reach a small room. The room was the length of about two queen sized beds pushed together and the width of maybe 10-12 feet. We sat and gathered twelve people in a circle and introduced ourselves:
“Hola. Soy Lexi, y tengo 22 años. Hablo un poquito Español. Soy de Virginia, pero vivo en El Paso, Texas para mi trabajo.”
“Hi. I’m Lexi and I’m 22 years old. I speak a little Spanish. I am from Virginia, but I live in El Paso, Texas for my job.”
My team continued to introduce themselves while I observed the demeanor of a man who sat directly across from me. He was hunched over and his head hung low, but he seemed to pay attention to everyone. His eyes never broke contact with the person who was talking. He wore a red polo shirt that looked like it had never been ironed, light-washed jeans, and dark brown tennis shoes. His hair was disheveled, curls going this way and that, and it looked like he hadn’t shaved in a few weeks. I noticed that he did not have a left arm; the empty red polo sleeve jostled unnaturally as he leaned over and rested his right elbow on his thigh. He had the prettiest blue-green eyes I ever saw, but there was something even more striking about him. His eyes, although pretty, seemed to be carrying the weight of the world. His eyes were physically open but were glazed over with a look of despair. It was apparent that this man suffered a grief that was incomparable to anything I had ever been through.
At the end of the introductions, someone from my team finally stated, “We are here to learn more about you, your lives, and stories.”
To follow Lexi's journey in El Paso from beginning to present, visit her blog series "Life in El Paso, Texas" here https://leximoles.wordpress.com/