Tag Archives: kbi

10 Things I Never Hated

The border is a complicated and sometimes, intense place. One way to wind down after a long, heavy day was to hang out with my incredible Backpack family. While we were there to learn, we laughed a lot and made memories that I will smile about forever. In the style of one of my favorite movies, 10 Things I Hate About You, here are the 10 things that I “hated” about this experience:


  1. I hated stepping outside of my cooking comfort zone.
  2. I hated the way my dance moves looked on Snapchat.
  3. I hated losing my breath from laughing too hard on the long van rides.
  4. I hated the deflated beds that created so many jokes in our room.
  5. I hated being caught as a member of the “mafia” during our silly game.
  6. I hated how my classmates cheated at Tenzi.
  7. I hated the way we all looked out for each other.
  1. I hated the pressure of picking the perfect song when I had the aux cord.
  2. I hated how my cheeks would hurt from smiling during our hilarious dinner chats.
  3. But mostly I hated the way I didn’t hate it, not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all.


Thanks, Aly for your awesome selfie skills.
Thanks, Aly for your awesome selfie skills.

Hasta Luego

I haven’t had that many goodbyes to speak of, but I can tell you straight off the bat that I am not a fan.

They feel final and long and drawn out. Overdone. Severe as winter. Hard as bone. At least the goodbyes that I have known were like that.

Saying goodbye to the people of Nogales was painful and forceful. I kept thinking that I didn’t want to go back to Omaha. How could I come back to my reality when I had just witnessed so much suffering?

I didn’t want to say goodbye to the people of Kino or to Pepe. It felt too final. Like there was no hope of ever seeing them again.


On our last day at Kino, I immediately sought out Pepe. Most of our group sat around Pepe as we watched him paint. There was some conversation exchanged but for the most part we all sat there in silence unsure of what to say.

As I am writing this blog post, I am uncertain of where Pepe is. I am constantly thinking and praying for him hoping that he has food, shelter and water.

When it was time to say our final goodbyes I hugged Pepe and thanked him for everything and wished him luck. As I walked away, I looked back at him for what is probably that last time and he said, “Hasta Luego,” which in Spanish means “See ya later.” I smiled but as soon as I turned my head, my smile turned into tears.

Somehow saying that phrase includes the hope and promise that I will indeed see him again soon

But, the likelihood of seeing Pepe again is slim. I know of Pepe’s future plans and I am uncertain of what the outcome will be.

Now that we are back, it is essential that we remain thankful for the moments we were lucky enough to have in Nogales.

It may be difficult to accept, but it is important to remember that all human relationships eventually come to an end.Instead of looking at relationships from a purely physical perspective it is important we realize our relationships are much more.

Although our relationships may end physically, spiritually we are always connected.

Now I’ll be the first to admit this abstract concept is rather difficult to comprehend, however for me it has been a very powerful perspective to adopt.

While saying goodbye may close the physical door, we can always revisit our relationships through our memories.

Your memories are more powerful than you can imagine. Revisit them frequently and you will find that you have the ability to connect with anyone at anytime, regardless of location.

By being thankful we are able to connect with the true essence of life.

Instead of focusing on what you won’t be able to do in the future take sometime and be thankful for what you have already done.

I am thankful for the Kino Border Initiative.

I am thankful for those helping migrants.

I am thankful for meeting Pepe.






Shrine in Tucson, Arizona. (Photo Cred: Nicole)
Shrine in Tucson, Arizona. (Photo Cred: Nicole)


I grew up in a conservative, small town in Wisconsin. I was raised to believe that immigration was wrong and that the “illegals” were stealing our jobs. I accepted that because I wasn’t exposed to the reality. Perhaps that is why I am understanding of those who are still against migration. The north is like a bubble, safe from the truth of the ugly parts of the south. However, it is a personal responsibility, no matter where one lives, to be educated and exposed.

When I entered college, I began to think for myself and discover what makes me mad. For me, anger is the strongest motivator. I am so angry here. I am angry that for every person found dead in the desert, there are ten more bodies. I am angry that men have come back to the comedor with bloody, torn up faces because BC pushed them into barbed wire. I am angry that the cartel keeps constant watch over the people and migrants of Nogales. I am angry that our country is just now processing paperwork from 20 years ago. I am angry that the reason some migrants carry drugs is because of the Americans who demand them. Mostly, I am angry that these people are classified as criminals and rapists when a large majority of them are just trying to survive.

As I said, anger motivates me. I’m the type of person who needs to brainstorm solutions whenever I hear a problem. I think that stems from my dad’s catchphrase, “Ok. So what are you going to do about it?” With him, I could never just complain or vent, I had to take action to solve my own problems. Listening to the stories of the people here, from both sides of the issue, has confirmed my desire to attend law school so that I can start a solution of my own.

So many of the people we have interviewed here have talked about young people and how they give them hope. A lawyer we spoke with called us “dreamers”. Those same people have also said that the dreamers fade out and the next round comes in and tries to change the world. I don’t want that to happen to me. I want to learn until I am no longer ignorant. I want to think until a problem is solved. I want to dream until I am no longer angry.


More to come,