Border Partners Celebrates 20th Cabalgata Binacional Villista in Palomas

Pancho Villa

The 20th Annual Cabalgata commemorates the memory of Pancho Villa and strengthens border unity.

Earlier in March, Palomas and Columbus celebrated the 20th Cabalgata Binacional Villista. Border Partners received a letter from the Presidencia of Palomas which invited Juan Rascon and Samantha Apodaca to join their festivities and explained the tradition as:

“el evento de la Cabalgata Binacional Villista es ya un evento tradicional en el que se conmemora el ataque del general Francisco Villa al poblado de Columbus, y que hoy en dia se convierte en un evento mediante el cual se estrechan los lazos de hermandad entre los municipios participantes, incluidia la poblacion fronteriza norteamericana del estado de Nuevo Mexico.”

“The event of the Binational Villista Parade is a traditional event commemorating General Francisco Villa’s attack on the town of Columbus, which today has become an event through which the bonds of brotherhood between the participating municipalities are strengthened, including the North American border population of the state of New Mexico.”

“I was truly honored to be a part of Mexico’s celebration, it is a memory that I will cherish, and I am very proud to be a part of an organization that is recognized and respected by the Palomas community.” ~Samantha

Appreciation for Peter Edmunds, BP Founder and General Manager

Peter Edmunds

Peter Edmunds

Peter Edmunds has facilitated lifestyle improvements, education and social advances and often gotten his hands dirty working alongside Mexicans to build numerous structures in Palomas with Border Partners. We asked people who have worked with Peter over the years both in Mexico and the US to comment on his accomplishments and his legacy. These are some of their thoughts as Peter steps down as General Manager:

Peter, we still have so many projects you dream up to make life better for people in Palomas. The list you have accomplished is long. Your kindness, generosity and imagination have been a boost to this Mexico border village. We expect the addition of more Peter Edmunds’ ideas as you become a volunteer. Helena Myers, BP Co-Founder, Board of Directors

Border Partners will never be the same. You will be sorely missed.
I’m sure that many many people will feel the same. Paul Allen, Supporter & Volunteer

Peter Edmunds has been an inspiration to me, and he is respected and admired throughout the Palomas community.
Both he and BP have made a great difference in the lives of many people. Juan Rascon, BP Mexico Staff

Peter has been the driving force behind Border Partners. I have always appreciated his strong, positive rapport with the people of Palomas. His creative mind is inspirational.  Elizabeth Burr, BP Board of Directors

Enthusiasm and compassion fueled Peter’s work for and with the people of Palomas. So many times he overcame obstacles that would have defeated me. He never forgot to express his appreciation to Border Partners supporters. Billie Greenwood, BP Communications Volunteer

When we boil down the ills of the world–like walls that divide us–we know that what brings us together is community.  Peter has lead the charge, and now he’s helping to prop us up for success going forward.  He has contributed in a big way toward community in Palomas and cross-cultural community.  I never get tired of saying how proud I am to be association with Border Partners.  This is a poignant time and I don’t know if there will ever be a way to adequately express to Peter enough thanks for his humanity! Mary White, BP Board of Directors

I have been lucky enough to work alongside Peter for the past year.
I cherish the knowledge he has shared with me, through stories and ideas, and the memories we have created.
His innovation is commendable and his dedication to the Palomas people is admirable.
I am honored to have made a friend in Peter.  Samantha Apodaca, BP General Manager 2019

Why did I join the Board of Border Partners some five years ago? It is probably because I saw that there was “entrega” –a Spanish word meaning devotion.  I am not as old as Peter, but want to be like him now and when I am as old and wise as he. I want to feel his devotion. He once said “I have the best job in the world”.  He was really talking about how good it felt to help a community like Palomas. The gifts came in return: smiling faces, healthier children and seniors, a meaningful life for many in a hardscrabble place. He has touched so many with his simple acts of selflessness.  Paul Dulin, BP Board of Directors

I’ve known Peter for 6 years. He is a great person, and I am very grateful to him for giving me so many opportunities and let me be part of this great family that is Border Partners, I really like the work he does, it’s a great example that many of us should follow.
Thanks, Peter, for being like it is! Gricelda Loya, BP Mexico staff

These photos document some of Peter’s accomplishments through the years:

Thank you, Peter Edmunds! ¡Muchas gracias! 

We invite you to add your own note to Peter in the comments of this post!


BP General Manager Passes Baton: “Best Job I Ever Had”

Peter Edmunds

Peter Edmunds steps down from General Manager position at Border Partners. He’s seen here in Palomas Centro Town Park on Earth Day during Border Partners Fair.

by Peter Edmunds

It’s been ten years since I started Border Partners with my wife, Polly, and Helena Myers. Last month I celebrated my 80th birthday, and I have decided it is time for me to transition out of my position as General Manager. Fortunately, one year ago, Samantha Apodaca joined Border Partners staff and, now, I am very happy to be turning over the reins to her. As of this week, she will be the General Manager, and I will be her adviser. 
Border Partners is the best job I have ever had.  For ten years, I have had the pleasure of working with the people of Palomas for several days each week to help them improve their community. In the process, it grew into something way beyond what Polly and I envisioned ten years ago. Today there are changes brought by Border Partners to Palomas that affect almost every resident in a small or a very large way.

What Lies Ahead

And now the fun begins for me. Unburdened by administrative duties, I am looking forward to doing some things that I have not had time to do in the last years. I will be in New Mexico until about May 1 to make sure Samantha has all she needs to be successful managing BP. She has worked for BP for almost a year, so she already is better at a lot of the work than I am. By May 1, I will finish construction work on some playgrounds and water filters. I will then go north to be with Polly and our family and friends in Minnesota and Wisconsin for the summer.

In the fall, I will return and get to work with the youth in Palomas on projects that will include some solar energy experiments, robotics and art. My hope is that I will be able to come back for a few months every year and work with the kids in Palomas.

I want to thank everyone on the BP team for the privilege of working with you for the past years. It has been a true joy to be part of the team that has done so much good work in Palomas.

Ten Years of Accomplishment in Palomas

Another publication lauded our 10th anniversary: the website Camino Real Media–a New Mexico Spanish language site–celebrated our accomplishments of the past ten years. Author Kara Naber has been closely associated with Border Partners during that time.

Translated roughly from the original Spanish, the article reads:

“Cities on the border between countries anywhere in the world are often difficult places to live and Puerto Palomas, Chihuahua, is no exception. Conditions for most residents are difficult, but in 2008, things were especially difficult. In that year, two residents of Deming, New Mexico, Polly and Peter Edmunds, saw their neighbors across the border struggling and wanted to help.

“We saw the need for people to have jobs in order to buy better food,” said Peter Edmunds. “As we spent more time at Palomas we met the people in the community. We realized how many health problems there were and the harsh situation in the schools. ”

The Edmunds started with two projects. Peter started directing workshops on the construction of solar cookers and how to use them. Polly started a sewing cooperative. With a few women and a handful of used sewing machines, they started making items to sell.

In 2010, Border Partners received official nonprofit status. With the help of local businesses, service organizations and volunteers on both sides of the border, the list of community improvements at Palomas has grown. The projects focus on the areas of education, health, economic development and sustainable technologies, all selected by the residents of Palomas.

“What I like most about Border Partners,” said Elizabeth Burr, a board member, is that they do not tell people what to do. They ask people what they want. ”

The salaried staff of Border Partners currently consists of six Promoters and a Community Coordinator. They work as a team to plan, organize and implement a wide variety of projects ranging from health fairs and community greenhouse gardens to zumba and nutrition classes. They also coordinate activities in the Sports and Educational Centers.

The Education Center, adjacent to the public library, was built by local youth who earned money while learning to develop skills. The Center now contains donated computers that are available for public use. Students use the Center to do their homework and volunteers from both sides of the border often offer computer and English classes. Edmunds estimates that they have provided around 300 computers for the public library and local schools, as well as for the Education Center.

The Sports Center opened its doors three years ago and is a place where people of all ages can play soccer, volleyball and basketball. Used bicycles are delivered to residents after they help repair them under the guidance of a local mechanic. A bicycle track gives children a place to have fun and races and summer attractions include the whole family. More than 200 local residents can now ride bicycles around the city while exercising and saving money. And hundreds of soccer balls and other sports equipment have been provided for the Sports Center and local schools.

While Border Partners has provided support over the past ten years, the ultimate goal was for the people of Palomas to work independently. For several years, the women of the sewing cooperative, now known as Palomas Oilcloth Designs, have been running the business on their own. They sell their products online and to provide income to their families.

The staff of Palomas is preparing for their next step towards independence. They have begun the process of establishing their own non-profit organization, a ‘Civil Association,’ and plan to continue the work that the Border Partners began to include other nearby cities.

When we asked Edmunds, if he could have imagined achieving so much ten years ago, he laughed and said: “No. We had no intention of doing all that, but you keep coming and you find a need and then you figure out how to do something about the need. Then you come back and there’s something else. ”


Border Partners: Promoting change for 10 years

health fair tent

Juan Rascon, Border Partners staffer, consults with a local health promoter at a health fair event that opens opportunities for local residents.

Border Partners marks its tenth anniversary this month by carrying on business as usual–quietly supporting positive progress on the U.S.-Mexico border. When negative publicity surrounds media treatment of the border, in some ways we’ve created an alternative, positive reality.

Engagement of US supporters, individual and corporate, has allowed the residents of Puerto Palomas to determine their path forward to a better life right where they are. Not only do the people of Palomas choose the path by determining the activities, they do most of the project implementation, as well.

The Deming Headlight marked our anniversary with an article reflecting this new reality that Border Partners has ushered in over the last ten years:

DEMING – Sometimes we see people in need but have no idea what to do. Ten years ago, Polly and Peter Edmunds of Deming saw their neighbors struggling across the border in Palomas, Mexico, and they stepped in to help. This month, Border Partners, the non-profit foundation they established in 2008, is marking its 10th anniversary.

Taking action was natural for the Edmunds. Originally from Minnesota, the couple had retired to Deming in 2005 after spending decades promoting civil rights and helping those less fortunate.

“We saw a need for people to have jobs so they could buy better food,” Peter Edmunds said, “As we spent more time in Palomas and got to know people in the community, we realized how many health problems there were and how stark the situation was in the schools.”

In 2010, Border Partners received 501(c)(3) non-profit status. Each year since then, a variety of projects selected by Palomas residents has been completed. The projects focus on the areas of education, health, economic development and sustainable technologies.



2018 Border Partners’ 10th Summer Working with the People of Palomas


Juan Rason and Juana Flores (3rd and 4th from left, respectively) awarding Border School graduates.

In July, Border Partners staff were honored at the sixth grade graduation at the Ignacio Zaragoza School. This is the school where your donations have helped support school gardens growing nutritious vegetables and nutrition classes for students! Thanks to our HEAL grant, we have also been able to add new sports equipment to their gym. Our lead staff, Juan and Juana, were the guests of honor joining teachers and principals onstage.

summer school recognition

Student proudly displays his Summer School Completion recognition award.

Our annual summer school began soon after that with sports, manners, art and music classes for local students. Besides that our crew worked hard building more greenhouses and gardens, teaching zumba classes and organizing sports activities – including several soccer tournaments.

As for the fall, this is the fourth year of the Healthy Eating Active Living grant we receive from the Paso del Norte Foundation. In the next few months expect to see more gardens, greenhouses, health workshops and sports activities!

In addition to these blog posts, you can keep up with our activities by following our social media:

Instagram: @border_partners
Facebook: @BorderPartners
Twitter: @BorderPartners

graduation dedication

Border Partners joyfully accepted recognition from Ford Primary School in Palomas when the dedicated this year’s graduation ceremony to us.

Collaboration with Border Partners Provides 107 Bicycles for Palomas Community

bike donation

This is what 107 bicycles look like. But what you can’t see in this photo is the improvement they will make in the community of Palomas by creating options for healthy activity.

Border Partners was pleased to bring 107 bikes to Palomas this month, through the generous donation of The Bike Works, a community-supported nonprofit bike shop in Silver City, NM. The shipment duty and the supplies to repair and refurbish the bikes was funded by a HEAL (Healthy Eating and Active Living) grant we received from the Paso Del Norte Health Foundation.

Many of these bicycles are already in ride able condition. For the others that need repair and refurbishment, we’re starting a bike restoration program in partnership with the local high school in Palomas. The plan is that students there will restore two bikes. One restored bike will go out for the Border Partners community in Palomas and the other bike they repair they will keep for their own use.

Our Border Partners staff and their families are already excited about the addition of these bikes. Many Palomas youngsters who are already bikers have grown and are outgrowing their present bicycles. This influx of bicycles will supply them with new, bigger bikes so they can continue their biking enthusiasm. 

We currently have about 100 donated tires on hand. All the bikes need desert tubes and slime sealant, materials that the HEAL grant will fund.

Earth Day Health Fair 2018

health and earth Day

Vigorous exercise–with or without added weights–made faces explode with pure joy during the Earth Day Health Fair 2018.

by Samantha Apodaca

As we drove into Palomas on Saturday morning, April 21, for Earth Day Health Fair 2018 the main thoroughfare felt abnormally empty and sleepy. But, as we traveled a few blocks south, we heard music and turned towards it. There we were greeted by a park decorated with people talking, laughing and dancing.

free haircuts

Participants were treated to free haircuts at the Health Fair.

Children were weaving in and out of cones, jumping over hurdles, swinging hula-hoops, riding bikes – the obstacle course appeared to be a hit!

Up the street from where the kids played, a blue tent belted out upbeat Mexican songs. In front of that tent, a group of girls and women jumped and swayed. Juana, our exercise instructor, led them in beat. Some were wearing work-out garb, others wore traditional Tarahumara dress. But all were wearing belly dancing skirts Juana knew would excite them into participating.

Further up the street, a bouncy house balloon heaved and sagged. The kids inside were giggling and jumping high as they could, showing-off to their parents who stood and watched.

Freebees at Earth Day Health Fair 2018

health services crafts

Health services and crafts from recycled produces coexisted peacefully.

Earth Day Health Fair 2018.

Snacks can be healthy and earth-friendly, like the free treats at Earth Day Health Fair 2018.

Wrapping around the corner was a line of tents and tables. The first offered free haircuts. The second provided free health check-ups. The third tent gave free vegetable seeds to those waiting in line. And, the fourth handed out free healthful food. Each stand was lined with people awaiting their turn. Meanwhile they stayed entertained by all the activity surrounding them.

I walked among all the commotion, snapping photos in an attempt to capture the overwhelming feelings of liveliness and togetherness to share with you. This is also an important effort as donations from our followers support events such as this.

So please, continue your generosity and help to create more blissful days for the people of Palomas.

All photos from Earth Day Health Fair 2018 by Samantha Apodaca

Earth Day Health Fair 2018

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Give Grandly 2018: Improve lives with resources that help

Give Grandly 2018

Join us on May 5, 2018 for Give Grandly 2018: 24 hours of giving to make our Border community stronger. Create a thriving community for all. Give Grandly 2018 brings the region together as one community. It’s a campaign to raise money and awareness for all local nonprofits during the 24-hour online giving challenge.

Your gift to us will:

  • Support family garden plots so kids can eat fresh home-grown vegetables
  • Continue health education and direct services by grassroots promotoras
  • Make sports opportunities available, keeping indoor gyms open
  • Keep kids on bikes that work because they’ve been repaired and maintained
  • And that’s just the beginning…

How to Give Grandly 2018

We need you to help us with four things:

  1. Mark Give Grandly! on your calendar for Saturday May 5 and bookmark this giving link: 
  2.  Please make a donation to support us on May 5
  3.  Spread the word! Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Follow the hashtags #GiveGrandly #GiveLocal to see the buzz.
  4.  Come down to the Silver City Farmers’ Market at 7th and Bullard Streets on opening day – May 5 from 8:30 am – 2:30 pm —  to meet us, other nonprofits, and learn about the great work we’re doing in this community

Give a little. Give a lot. Give Local. Give Grandly 2018!

Thank you for your support! Your interest in our work fuels our efforts. We rely on you to accomplish all we do.

My first meeting with Border Partners Mexican staff

Border Partners staff meal

Border Partners staff meal nourishes team spirit and accomplishment.

by Samantha Apodaca

We brought enchiladas, pie, and ideas to the table that Monday.

Being it was my first meeting, I watched and listened. I learned more of the inner-workings and interrelations of Border Partners and began to understand others’ roles and attributes. Integrating into the community that is Border Partners has been invigorating, in that there are new people to meet, new ideas to explore, and new knowledge to discover.

Juan Rascon sat between Peter Edmunds and me, translating between us and the promotoras. We talked about current projects, future projects, what we can do better – everyone was included and heard. Being apart of such a cohesive and cooperative group was inspiring. Capable, bright, determined people were sitting before me, all discussing how to better their community.

  • They laughed and joked about how spicy the food was,
  • they debated what seeds would best grow in the hot, dry Mexican climate,
  • they brainstormed how to get children more involved in community gardens.

Allowing for a time and space to discuss or vent, as Peter explained, was vital to keeping the energy alive in the organization.

After the First Meeting

first meeting border crossing line

After Samantha’s first Mexican staff meeting, she had a long line to cross back into the United States.

After having such wonderful afternoon, it seemed that Mexico didn’t want to see us go… a line several miles long was building as we approached the border. Peter and I saw that we were going to have to wait a few hours before getting home. BUT, we were crawling through the parade right on the main street of Palomas, making this the perfect opportunity to hop out of the car and take some photographs. Peter held down the fort while my camera led me through the streets.

All the sights, smells and sounds kept my intrigue sparked.

Every “hola” and bright smile made me enjoy and appreciate the long wait.

When we finally passed through the border, I looked in the rearview mirror, already longing for our next meeting…

All photos by Samantha that day are on our Border Partners Flickr account. 

SA’s First Mexican Staff Meeting

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