Tag Archives: Arivaca

Walking in Their Footsteps

A lot of our days in Arizona started off very early, whether it be for getting b-roll or to get ready for the long day ahead of us. One day in particular, we were all out of the house we were staying in by 6 in the morning to take an early morning desert walk in Arivaca, Arizona, where we would walkfor two miles on the path that migrants take when they are traveling across the border.

During this walk, we were lead by our tour guide for the day, John Heidt, or as we lovingly called Lil John, who is an activist that works closely with the No More Deaths organization. Throughout the walk, he would give us information one why the route we were taking was a migrant route, and described the grueling journey most of them take to get to this point. We stopped to listen at some points, and even walked to a makeshift shrine made by migrants that had bottles and jugs of water for travelers to drink from. We ourselves left many bottles of water and several cans of food for anyone who would take the trail.

Jugs of water hanging from trees by ropes for migrants who are passing by on the trail to drink from. The jug on the right reads "No human is illegal"
Jugs of water hanging from trees by ropes for migrants who are passing by on the trail to drink from. The jug on the right reads “No human is illegal”

John spoke elegantly about the issue of migration to us and what these travelers go through to make it into the US. One of his statements that stuck with me throughout the trip was about how we, as Americans, tend to have borders in our ears, and unless we take those walls down, we cannot take down the actual wall. I spent a lot of time during the trip reflecting on that particular quote, and understanding that our ultimate goal of the trip was to, in fact, help take down some of those cultural walls through the final product of our documentary.

While it was only two miles, it took us about 4 hours to get through the trip, and all of us were completely exhausted by the end of it; and this was only an insignificantly small fraction of the length that migrants who cross the border have to travel. It gave me a slightly better understanding of the hell migrants have to trek through, albeit a very small example of that. It made the drive back to our house much more reflective, trying to imagine walking all the miles that we drove out there to Arivaca. I guess you really can’t understand what others go through until you walk a mile, or a few hundred, in their shoes.

Small town Arivaca

We started off the morning interviewing Daniella, who I picked up from the airport in Phoenix a few days ago. Her story and testimony was very moving. She was truthful and you could feel her honesty during the interview.

Later we went to a town north of Nogales called Arivaca. Arivaca is a small town of no more than 50 people. Father Pete took us to mass that he was presiding over. When we walked in, myself and another guy called drafted to sing in the choir. This choir had zero talent and I couldn’t help but laugh the whole first song but it was a blast. We witnessed two baptisms and one first communion. It was really cool.

After mass and a pot luck dinner with the people of Arivaca we went to a ranch and interviewed its owners. I talked to the owner a lot during the lunch after mass so I shot b-roll around his property while everyone else interviewed them. I walked a lot around his 50,000 plus acres. The land here is truly spectacular. I have really enjoyed and cherished time that I’ve spent alone the last few days. There is so much to process and to be at peace in thought in this land is a blessing.