Annunciation House in El Paso, TX

Dates: January 5-20, 2018

Cost: $1500

Group Size: 2 leaders, 10 participants

Host Community:

El Paso, Texas and Juarez, Mexico are essentially one city split by an international border. They share the same people, the same culture and the same water system. Yet one is in a First World country, the other in a Third World country. Annunciation House operates houses of hospitality in both El Paso and Juarez, offering food, shelter, clothing, and immigration counseling to undocumented immigrants, who continue to be some of the most excluded members of the community. Annunciation House’s trained staff will lead the group through a Border Awareness Experience (BAE) in which you will explore the historical and contemporary factors that have caused these two cities separated by a fence to be worlds apart in housing and development.

Justice Issues:

The group will be immersed in border issues. You will see the face of immigration by meeting and talking with the guests at Annunciation House’s various houses. The group will also explore the issues at the border in more depth by talking with immigration lawyers, Border Patrol officials and hearing first-hand stories from immigrants. The border awareness experience intends to raise consciousness in the ‘first world’ about the issues facing the peoples of the ‘third world’ and the effects of unjust economic policies on their lives. It is an opportunity to listen to different perspectives and opinions about issues such as immigration, economic development, human rights, and social justice. This trips seeks to put a face on the immigrant, the factory worker, the refugee, and the Border Patrol Agent.

Cultural Opportunities:

We will work alongside members of El Paso's strong hispanic community and learn what it means to be an immigrant in the United States. The BAE is not an opportunity to ‘do,’ but to listen and hear as part of an immersion experience. Participants serve the guests of Annunciation's houses by bearing witness to their stories and bringing back what they have learned and experienced to communities at home.

Spanish is not a requirement for this trip, but it is a strong asset when forming relationships.

Food, Lodging, Travel:

The group will drive a 15-passenger van to the center in El Paso. The group will eat meals with guests at the various houses or prepare meals together.

It is true that Ciudad Juarez is one of the most violent cities in the world, a heart breaking reality that has touched the lives of many community members. At the same time, El Paso remains one of the safest cities in the United States, with one of the lowest violent crime rates in the country. This means our group will not be crossing the border into Juarez but will instead spend the week in El Paso, Texas. BAE participants usually reside in one of the houses of hospitality on the border. Sleeping arrangements are dormitory style, in bunk beds.