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Borderlands Dialogues: On Empathy & Accompaniment, Part 3

Gary: Do you know what really touched me today Kristy, while you were talking to the mothers from Guatemala and Mexico who were stranded, waiting to be processed at the DeConcini Gate at the Nogales Port of Entry?

Kristy: So much of what we saw and heard there was moving to me, since it was my first time at the border there. But what moved you?

Gary: It was the excitement of the face of the 8-year old boy from Guerrero, Mexico, Yohan, when I gave him and the other children the little figurines of dinosaurs and “zoo” animals. He seemed a bit subdued before then, but his face lit up when he had those little toy animals in his hands. He knew more of their names—in Spanish and science-speak—than I did.

Kristy: And did you hear what his mother said? He wants to grow up to be a veterinarian, and his mother hopes that getting to a safe place in the U.S. will help him achieve that goal!”

Gary: When I heard her say that, I told him that there were all kinds of jobs for vets in the United States and Canada, as well as in Mexico. I told him that there were vets that specialized in helping wild animals in their natural habitats, or in zoos.

There are vets that work just with dogs and cats, or with chickens, ducks and geese! My niece Morgan is a vet that spays feral dogs and cats on islands where they compete with endangered wildlife. I told him that if he and his mother make a safe passage into Arizona, I would love to take him to meet the zoos and museums where I’ve worked. The boy’s eyes sparkled with the hope of a bright future….

Kristy: You can hardly imagine all that they’ve just been through—leaving the violence in Guerrero—and the uncertainty that still faces them at the border. But what a beautiful thing it was for me to see in the mother’s eyes and in her voice the hope that she has for that bright little vet-to-be!


Written By: Gary Nabhan and Kristy Nabhan-Warren



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