Statement of Purpose and Intent

On March 12th, 2011 I began a 400 mile trek along the Arizona-Mexico border from Agua Prieta to San Luis Rio Colorado, an adventure with a purpose I am calling BorderVenture.

Through BorderVenture I hope to raise awareness of border issues, expose exaggeration of border violence, combat the racial profiling, discrimination, and often outright racism that seems prevalent of late, and to record and recount personal stories of people living near or trying to cross the border. I will record my experiences and stories in this blog, and hope to have them further covered by supportive media, organizations, and other websites and blogs. I plan to aggressively publish my experiences through media outlets, interested groups, the Internet, and through whatever other avenues I am able. I will write tirelessly and advocate my findings to all who will listen, publish, and share them.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Rough Start

So I started BorderVenture with a mild cold and possibly a sinus infection.  Likely a side-effect of the long days, little sleep, and the stress of preparing for the venture.  It made the 23ish miles from Douglas/Agua Prieta feel very long, and it certainly took longer than expected.  I took with me a pocket Spanish book, so I´ve been working on my Español a bit when the walking is easy, and I did a fair bit of that on the first day.  I definitely didn´t drink or eat enough my first day, and not really for any good reason other than that I knew I could buy a big meal at the end of the day.

The border wall is continuous from Douglas all the way to the mountains about 15 miles west of Naco, making approximately 40 miles of wasted resources.  An enormous amount of resources.  The wall through there is secured in the ground by cement, and varies in form from 18ft tall round steel poles to solid steel and heavy-gauge mesh panels.  One bonus of the wall is that it provides great shade if you´re walking on the U.S. side.  If this wall was truly built with the intent to stop people, it utterly fails.  I could easily climb over the wall in most places, and saw tracks in the dirt demonstrating that others had already done so that day.  Some research is being done as to who received the government contracts to build a lot of the wall, and apparently its some of the same companies building the apartheid wall in Israel.  Great people, eh?  Someone made a lot of money off of this wall. 

On the other side of those mountains, the border wall becomes 30 miles of vehicle barrier (look like tank traps, appear to be made from old railroad tracks) and a 5-strand barbed wire fence.  Basically not stopping anyone, in fact, I crossed it myself several times.  Border Patrol is also much more dispersed here, although there are still around 300 agents (number given by a Border Patrol agent) working in the large basin region between the two mountain ranges west of Naco and east of Nogales. 

Enough about that, more about the rough start.  Like I said, started with a sinus infection.  Toward the end of the first day I developed some mild pain in my right achilles tendon.  Could be overuse from running and hiking with a heavy pack, could be the new shoes I´ve only worn once before begining BorderVenture, could be something else entirely.  The second day went slowly also because I started late (because of an interview with the Sierra Vista Herald), because my achilles hurt, and because I had to carry a lot more water.  I´m trying to be self-sufficient with water, but I´ve needed to drink a lot more than I was hoping to need, making me dependent on water sources that can´t be depended upon (water is tenuous at best in the desert).  This is an unfortunate turn of events, and could make upcoming sections of the journey much more difficult than I was expecting.  No reason to worry for me, I´m not going to endanger myself, but it is just going to be harder.  And thats with the assumption that my achilles injury will heal itself or can be ignored.  Right now I have a healthy portion of pain just walking around town, and because of the achilles pain I ashamedly ended up hitchhiking the last 15 miles into Nogales yesterday .  In Mexico.  Kind of ironic that only the fourth Mexicano truck to pass stopped an picked up a Gringo just south of the border, no questions asked.  A Mexicano certainly wouldn´t get the same treatment just north of the border. 

I think that is all I have time for now, I´ll try to post again soon about some of my experiences and the poeple I´ve met, but I just wanted to give an update where things are at the moment.

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