Read this lovely essay from my friend and colleague Casey Fleming. And then consider following her blog. When you read more of her work, you will be so glad you did.
I first crossed the U.S.-Mexico border in 1996, at 19 years old.
I took an airplane.
No passport required then, I presented my Texas Driver’s License at customs in Mexico City as documentation of my American citizenship. My purpose: to help run a day camp for the summer through a YMCA exchange program called Mano a Mano Sin Fronteras. Each day, I walked a mile from my host family’s apartment in the city center to the metro station, rose out of the subway system 40 minutes later to catch a bus that dropped me another mile-walk away from the community center in Naucalpan, an outlying barrio of the federal district, where I spent my days with Kristy and Luis, my peer volunteers, building a program from scratch.
For weeks I fought off back-to-back cases of dysentery as well as a buzzing terror that lived in my ribcage—everyone spoke Spanish…
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