Bajo La Misma Luna: My Trip to Tucson, Arizona Part 5

Sunday, May 22nd

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And an early morning it was! At 8:30 am, we arrived at Casa Maria, a house out of the Catholic Worker Movement that serves several hundreds of homeless folk meals each day. The leader Brian “greeted” us with a huff, and we were promptly set to work bagging sandwiches, cookies and eggs. The Spanish speakers in our group worked at the front serving soup, and I and one other student bagged muffins and cookies. He taught me a neat way to tie a plastic bag- flip it over twice and then tie it! One of the workers shared her story in Spanish and a student translated. She talked about coming to the United States and working so hard to provide for her daughters, even quitting her first job because the hours didn’t allow her to spend time with them. One of our students, the daughter of immigrants from Pakistan, shared that evening that she hugged Laura as we were leaving. She told Laura that she felt bad that her parents had worked so hard and sometimes she didn’t treat them the best. “They know”, Laura said. “They know”.

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We drove a little south to the San Xavier Indian Reservation to attend Catholic mass at the San Xavier Mission Del Bac. Instantly I felt warmed- in the parking lot, several folks had set up stands selling fry bread with green chile, cheese and beans, or powdered sugar. I shared one with Karin and devoured it pretty quickly. The mass was packed full of people, so much that we had to stand. I loved the guitars that guided the hymns and that at the end, the priest thanked us for coming. It was lovely to see a community of faith so strong and a highlight of the week for me.

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It was time to have some leisure, so we drove to 4th avenue and sent everyone off on their own to find lunch. Karin and two other students and I ate at a burger joint, where I had a spicy spicy burger with habanero and jalapeño. It was life giving. Next we wandered to the Chocolate Iguana where we bought coffee and chocolates and one student bought a mile-long eclair. It was a cute store that would make us laugh later on, trying to say “at the chocolate iguana” without giggling. In a local artist shop, I bought a blue pig and a small cactus plant. We were all quite tired from the early morning, so we headed back to Alma Del Sol and napped for a bit. I put the lasagna in the oven and read Luis Urrea’s The Devil’s Highway, a true story about 25 men that either died or were found in critical condition in the Sonoran desert 15 years ago. The book details accounts of the coyote, Mendez, who led the group across the border but somehow found himself unable to navigate as usual. Eerily, the anniversary of the border patrol finding he bodies in the desert was this day, May 22nd.

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Everyone enjoyed my lasagna (thank goodness) and two students led us in a very fun and meaningful hot tub reflection on the importance of water. Four students revealed a secret synchronized Bhangra and Irish Step Dance they had choreographed and we had a big laugh. Some of us took a short moonlight walk around Alma Del Sol, and then we headed to bed for our final full day in Tucson.

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