Day 4 — Friendship Park

We started the morning off with a delicious breakfast at GaryMar of pancakes, scrambled eggs, hashbrowns, and fruit salad. As per tradition, we took a group photo in front of the mural before saying goodbye and thank you to Gary and Mar, our hosts and the owners of the home we stayed in.

We went down to Friendship Park, a section of the border where separated families can have a chance to visit each other. There were many families communicating through the mesh border, especially adults to their young children. We were able to help maintain the wall by painting over graffiti, repainting the wall, and repairing and weeding in the gardens. Afterwards, we had the chance to explore the boardwalk in the area, gaining insight into what a community so close to the border is like. We attended a binational and bilingual church service created to help bring the divided community together. While eating lunch at a local pizzeria, we had a chance to overlap with another Crossing Borders group from Los Angeles and Crystal, our tour guide, host, and daughter to Gary and Mar.

In the afternoon, we experienced immigrating to the United States on foot. We walked half a kilometer to the San Ysidro Land Port of Entry. There we met up with Sara, another host in San Diego.

After crossing back into San Diego, we visited Chicano Park, a small community park in Barrio Logan featuring murals made by latino artists. It was a very beautiful and colorful homage to latino myths and history. In a gazebo in the center, a mural on the ceiling featured a prophecy of the Aztecs, showing how they found their promised land. The prophecy stated that an eagle eating a serpent on a cactus would be on the land they would soon make to be their capital, Mexico City. Chicano Park helps keep the latino culture alive by hosting folk dances and events and depicting their history. One mural depicted Emiliano Zapata, a leading figure of the Mexican Revolution, and a quote stated by him that read:

“I would rather die standing than live on my knees.”

We then headed to our Airbnb in San Diego, a giant luxurious fortress (source: Mercedes) made for large groups. We helped to make a delicious dinner with a PTA mother named Berenice from the school Mar and Crystal worked at and her daughter. We did team bonding by playing games and prepared for our departure the next day.

We wanted to thank everyone who helped us on this trip! Gary, Mar, and Crystal were wonderful hosts that immersed us in Mexican culture but still made us feel at home. We learned so much from them and gained many new perspectives. We’d also like to thank Sara for making our last night so memorable!

We’d also like to give a special thanks to Ms. Dillon and Ms. Lear for making this trip happen and making sure we all had an enjoyable and fascinating experience!

Created by:

Mercedes (creator), Ashley (creator), and Jordan (creator)

Day 3 — Madre Asuntas

Happy Father’s Day!

We opened the morning with a catered breakfast with the group at GaryMar. A smaller group of students and adults went to a Walmart nearby beforehand to get supplies for the day. We spent the majority of the day at a women and children’s shelter, Madre Asuntas, spending time with the children and doing various activities with them, some including painting, drawing, hair styling, soccer, basketball, and Bingo. The children were so excited to play with all of us, and it was an excellent opportunity to practice our Spanish and involve ourselves more with the community. Afterwards, we gathered in a room inside and spoke with Madre Delia Contini, who explained the mission and goals of the shelter. She also explained their basic operations and history as well. It was very eye opening to see how they worked and what they were able to achieve with such limited resources.

After our time at Madre Asuntas, we had a lunch at a restaurant and headed back to GaryMar. We took a brief break before gathering in the living room to learn more about Immigration as a Moral Issue with Mar. After learning a little about its history and its impact on our everyday lives, we played a Jeopardy game with topics such as famous immigrants, questions from the U.S. citizenship test, and immigrant geography.

The day was a fun and eye opening experience. The juxtaposition of our more active and involved morning and our quieter, more introspective evening was very productive and enjoyable. Of course, we’re looking forward to the coming activities tomorrow. Again, we hope you all had a wonderful Father’s Day, and we send lots of love from Tijuana.

Day 2 — Desayunador


After waking up to a delicious breakfast, we decided to pay it forward by helping those who don’t have the privilege of a fresh meal in the morning.  We went to Desayunadores (Breakfast Givers), a soup kitchen that serves nearly 1000 meals to the needy every morning, and provides weekly services including showers, clothes, phone calls, and healthcare.  Whether it was cleaning dishes, serving meals, or refilling the coffee jugs we were all able to do our part to help the community.  Many of the people lining up outside were migrants from all across Mexico and Central America, who were waiting for their court dates in the US.  Most of the workers at Desayunadores are volunteers, and through conversations in both English and Spanish while working we discovered that some of them were also migrants themselves.  Working at Desayunadores was an eye opening experience for us all and definitely the highlight of our day.  After the lines outside finally died down, we said goodbye to our new friends and headed to the local market for a well deserved meal.  When we finished our typical Tijuanan lunch of tortillas and various proteins, we wandered the markets for interesting souvenirs to bring home.  After our shopping spree, we headed to the Tijuanan cultural center to learn more about the fascinating city.  We toured a Mexican art museum and got a brief history of the Baja California area.  After that, we took a break from Mexican culture and watched a short IMAX movie on Australian wildlife (it was narrated in Spanish, so…totally relevant).  Once the credits rolled, we left the cultural center and finally reached the most flavorful part of the day – dinner!  At dinner we feasted on delicious corn tortilla tacos and quesadillas, complete with various salsas, seasonings, and guacamole.  Finally, after gorging ourselves, we headed back to Gary-Mar to reflect on the day’s activities and get some rest.

Crossing Borders Day 1 — San Diego to Tijuana

Travelers with Border Patrol

Bienvenidos!  Today was an absolute blast, with experiences ranging from playing Uno to watching a police chase along the border.  It all began at 5:30 am sharp, when we all sleepily said goodbye to our parents and embarked on the long flight to San Diego.  After arriving, we met our amazing tour guide Krystal, who brought us exactly where we wanted to go: the food court at the border mall.  After gorging our stomachs, we piled into the van and headed to the San Diego – Tijuana Border, where we met with US Border Patrol agents who discussed their jobs and daily routines.  After our onslaught of questions finally ended, we made our first attempt at crossing the border.  We breezed through the border security, hopped back into our van, and made it into the border city, Tijuana.  Once there, we met with deported veterans, who spoke about their lives and how they were deported. This definitely opened our eyes to the legal system that led to the deportation of our veterans, and the challenges they faced. To end the day, we traveled to GaryMar, our house, and reflected with the group about our day. Finally, we ate some delicious pizza and some yummy ice cream!


Created by:

Marc (Content), Reese (Typer), Ryder (Editor), Stuart (Editor), Avi (Chief Editor)