You might be thinking this is not the best time to get on a plane but sometimes the rewards of travel can outweigh the risks. At least that is how I surmised my decision to travel with Bay Area Border Relief to Brownsville, Texas.
Packing for Brownsville was by far the easiest of all my trips. I didn’t need to consider what to wear on a daily basis as the formula was the same every day—comfortable shoes, comfortable pants, tee shirt, hat, and a warm jacket. Besides the other necessities like sanitizer, toiletries, plastic bags, tissues, computer stuff, a change of underwear, and passport I was set.
There was something zen-like about wearing a uniform every day. I never considered what went with what or even how I looked in what I wore. The other advantage to traveling with a uniform in a medium-sized backpack was the ease with which I got onto my flight. My flights were tight and never did I worry that my bag would have to be checked—easy peasy!
I must confess however that I would sometimes change into my travel clothes at night. The pieces I wore on the plane were more my comfort level. I enjoy dressing up and considering how things look. And after a long day working between Brownsville, Texas and Matamoros, Mexico a shower, cropped black trousers, my favorite oversized sweater and scarf felt satisfying.
The coronavirus was a concern but in truth I was more concerned about other matters and how my trip into Matamoros would unfold. Since there was nothing I could do about what might become of me walking through the migrant camps, I focused on what would become of me and my community if I caught the coronavirus so I packed plenty of tissues and antibacterial gel.
Once I reached my seat for my flight, my first order of business was to grab some tissues and antibacterial gel. I began to wipe down my tray, armrest, and anything else that I felt my hands might come into contact with. The gentlemen next to me stared at me while raising an eyebrow. I glanced back and said, “ I am doing this for you and me”.
I arrived in Brownsville during the Charro Days Fiesta where the city pulls out all the stops to celebrate the charros otherwise known as the dapper Mexican cowboys. As I stood watching one of many lavish parades, my companion mentioned that the fiesta was a celebration of these dashing cowboys. Just then a local leaned into our conversation and explained that the parade was really a celebration of the friendship between Brownsville and Matamoros.
Vibrant costumes filled the streets as the sound of Latin beats inspired hips to sway. Oh, how I wanted to change into one of those elaborate skirts! The party continued for days and was a dark contrast to the ten-minute walk across the border.
There is so much more to say about my trip having nothing to do with packing or the coronavirus. But I am not quite comfortable enough to express my thoughts regarding what I saw, what I did, and the people I met. I ask myself if I could put into words the heartache and desperation I witnessed. Or perhaps I can’t tell you more as my blog was never meant to be political. I can tell you this. There are truly good people in the world doing good things for others who need to feel there is hope.
Eat well, laugh a lot and don’t forget to pack antibacterial gel when you travel!