By Brittney Rose on August 8, 2018
Faith Floods the Desert was a truly an eye-opening experience and was a small window into seeing what migrants crossing the desert are exposed to: intense and overpowering heat, no shade, no access to any food or water, and few places for rest or relief. Feeling the ground crunch beneath my boots in every step because it was so dry and the sting of the heat rising up from the ground through the soles of my shoes, through my socks, to my toes made me wonder how migrants can survive in this type of environment.
The dry, dense air forces you to breathe shallow breaths, heavy sweat drips from everywhere, and your body reacts to heat exhaustion with a headache, chills, dizziness, or nausea. I wish more people from our country could have that sense of what these people are exposing themselves, their families, and their children to out of complete desperation to reach a safe place.
I’m so proud and honored to have been part of the Faith Floods the Desert action with No More Deaths. It was such an important action to bring awareness to this issue and to humanize the people crossing the desert. Humanitarian aid is never a crime and no human being is ever illegal. These are a few of the lines that were present on our shirts and in the songs we sang during orientation and on the ground in the desert. It was grounding and was a great way to voice our solidarity.
The blessing we had before we loaded up into separate vans to head out into the desert played over and over in my mind:
“I see beauty in your eyes, I see beauty all around you […]. I see spirit in your eyes, I see spirit all around you […]”
It’s amazing how words of hope and love can keep you going.
I learned so much from this experience. It was incredible to trek the desert along with faith leaders and other humanitarian volunteers. We left messages in Spanish of love and support written on the gallons of water left behind. I hope that the water gets to the migrants and from that they know that a lot of people care. I hope and pray that agencies like border patrol don’t continue to vandalize the humanitarian aid left behind.
It made me angry to think that people migrating across this treacherous desert would come across slashed or vandalized gallons of water, emptied food cans, and think that they are hated. It made me angry to think of how after experiencing all the elements of the desert that border patrol would detain them and separate their families. How heartbreaking! I hope that continuing to leave water and humanitarian aid out there sends a stronger message of love, resistance, and support.
I love being part of an organization that supports this type of work and that gets out there to walk the talk with grassroots organizations like No More Deaths. Leaving that water behind in such an arid place knowing that it will help save lives was food for my soul. Being close to the work like that is an experience I value and will never forget.
Photos by Ash Ponders