Gary: Oh, what an irony: We could hardly find the Southwest Key detention center for unaccompanied minors in Tucson, but when we met our Lebanese relatives at their historic Gardner Hotel in El Paso, they had a few surprises for us, didn’t they?
Kristy: I would say so. Another Southwest Key detention center was right next to the hotel, less than 50 yards from where the rooms were that our cousins graciously offered us. The windows are all closed tight, the blinds are down, and it is silent.
Gary: And of course, we were just as surprised when they told us of another writer of border issues who frequently stayed at the Gardner years ago.
Kristy: Yes, it was Cormac McCarthy, for whom Steve and I named our oldest son. Apparently, he liked to write in Room 108.
Gary: Turns out he was right down the hall from the rooms where each of us slept during the first years of writing his Border Trilogy, beginning with All the Pretty Horses.
Kristy: But then Joe Nebhan’s wife Laura told us about more recent border issues relevant to our own writing project.
Gary: She and Joe had helped the Annunciation House in its early years… but just this last month, the Annunciation House became one of the first four shelter in the U.S. to be selected to house the immigrant families that needed to be reunited after being detained and separated by ICE. The House had just welcomed the first few families, but more than 100 more would be arriving over the next few weeks.
Kristy: What a windfall…you found that the House was just a few miles away, and would briefly let us come by to greet the newly-arrived families, talk with them for awhile, and accept our donations for their current needs.
Gary: The refugees themselves were so positive when we arrived and blessed them for their tenacity, their stamina and their determination to be reunited after weeks, months, or in one case, two years of separation. I am so grateful we were offered a glimpse into their lives, however brief it was.
Kristy: What would we do without the many volunteers and staff members of such humanitarian aid endeavors? With so few resources, they do so much.
Gary: It is like the loaves and fishes which fed so many.
Friends, to donate to the Annunciation House you can send your tax-deductable donations directly to them: 815 Middle Avenue; El Paso, Texas 79901
Written by: Gary Nabhan and Kristy Nabhan-Warren