On the 16th of February we left our campground in San Diego and headed for the Mexican border. We made a quick stop in San Ysidro to change our money. We noticed right away how different the culture and heritage was incorporated into the money. On the pesos there were pictures of native tribes and local vegetables. We instantly saw that they had a deeper connection to their roots and natural history.
We all worked ourselves up thinking that crossing the border would be a long, stressful process. But we were surprised by the relative simplicity and quickness of it. The first thing that caught our eyes was the soldiers with their fully automatic weapons, and MARINA clearly printed across their chests. We parked, had our visas checked, and just like that we headed into Tijuana. Throughout our lives we had been subjected to images of Mexico being a place of solace and beauty. This was so much more.
Tijuana was the embodiment of poverty. America wasn’t what the world was like. This was what the world was like, and it got much worse. The thing we noticed right away was the huge fence looming over us that separated Mexico from America. On one side you had the Mexican fence, which was made up of 8ft high pieces of sheet metal that hung from a weak frame. But on the other side huge cement pillars topped with barbed wire advertising a clear message of Keep Out. The group found ourselves wondering why we had to separate our country from such a beautiful and close neighbor. Crossing the border was an eye-opening experience and none of us expected what we saw.
By Alex Depavloff & Genesis Napel