Crosses hang on the Mexican side of the border wall in Nogales, Mexico, commemorating the 4,000 people who have lost their lives attempting to cross the desert in search of a better life in the United States.
The MCC delegation tours Casa de la Misericordia (Mercy House) in Nogales, Mexico, as part of its three-day orientation before beginning the Migrant Trail walk. SALT participant Lisl Kristina Hershberger works at the Mercy House, operated by BorderLinks, which offers a variety of educational classes to children and adults in the community.
At Shalom Mennonite Fellowship in Tucson, Ariz., Pastor Bryce Miller (holding paper) leads a prayer commissioning the MCC delegation before they begin their journey. MCC Workers Gabe Schlabach and Nancy Rivera prepare for the journey ahead.
Shielding herself from the desert sun, Dina Piña Gonzalez, West Coast MCC Board of Directors, pushes on through the desert. In late May participants walked 75 miles along the Migrant Trail to call attention to the human rights crisis on the border. Read blog entries about participants' experiences.
With temperatures reaching over 90 degrees during the day and dropping below 40 degrees overnight, participants were given a taste of the desert extremes. Six nights were spent sleeping in the desert but participants had support vehicles, plenty of food and water and tents; amenities a migrant would have to do without.
Esther Harder of Mountain Lake, Minn., takes a break from the walk. She recently returned from a four-year MCC term in Uganda where she did peace work. Walking all week in traditional Ugandan dress, Esther encouraged participants to think about border issues worldwide.
Walkers carried crosses to remember those who had died in the desert. Forty-one-year-old Lucia Sebastian Diego lost her life crossing the desert of Arizona. Several crosses where marked UKN, or unknown, for the many unidentified migrants who did not survive.
Pedro Gonzalez, left, an MCC Central States worker, shares some thoughts with Valerie Ong and Gabe Schlabach, both of the MCC Washington Office. MCC delegation reflection times were a good way to process the emotions of the walk and discuss how faith affects their responses to the issue.
Sylverio Ontiveros, a police officer from Phoenix, Ariz., carries two crosses in the early morning to remember two migrants who lost their lives in the desert. Participants began their hike at 5 a.m. to beat the harsh afternoon sun.
Craig Bush, a volunteer with No More Deaths, carries a cross. Its shadow is a reminder that other immigrants were around the walkers, even though they encountered only a handful. Learn more about the Migrant Trail.