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

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. 

Meet Samantha Apodaca: Our new administrative assistant

Samantha Apodaca

Samantha Apodaca, photo taken in Thailand

Border Partners would like to introduce you to our new administrative assistant – Samantha Apodaca. As a recent university graduate, her studies included two semesters abroad, in two different areas of the world. Her extensive volunteer work includes assisting at an orphanage and a hospital for mentally disabled children and teaching English to Buddhist monks. As it happens, she lives just two blocks from our office in Deming and was looking for a job with a nonprofit organization. 

Samantha brings us computer skills, and her hobby is photography. She knows social media and has ideas for how we can improve. We feel very lucky to have her working here. And, we’ve asked Samantha to share her initial and ongoing impressions with us. Read on for her first installment and watch for more to come.

Samantha’s First Message

Hello! My name is Samantha and I am now working for Border Partners as the new Administrative Assistant. To introduce myself I want to tell you all a bit about my background and past, as well as my future goals and dreams.

I graduated from New Mexico State University in December of 2017 and received a Bachelors of Arts in Anthropology with a minor in Journalism. Anthropology became my passion as soon as I attended my first introductory class and decided it was the career I wanted to pursue. That drive led me to study in both Italy and Thailand. I was rewarded with valuable experiences that brought international issues to my attention, specifically those concerning Thailand’s Indigenous peoples and systematic oppression.

Travelling allowed me to delve deeper into my own identity. I learned that I wanted to dedicate my life to helping others that face social injustices, poverty, and/or lack human rights.
When I learned of this position with Border Partners I felt the same excitement as when I left the US for adventures abroad. Their goal to ‘help others help themselves’ intrigued my inner Anthropologist, as it is crucial to never dominate a culture or society (even if it comes in means of aid) but rather to understand their needs and learn how to best contribute.

The outstanding work Border Partners does in Palomas is largely due to the wonderful and reliable Mexican staff. Learning of their stories, tribulations and accomplishments, intrigued the Journalist in me. Reporting what Border Partners does, who Border Partners helps, and why Border Partners continues to stay active in Palomas is crucial to supplying a better understanding of the needs of border communities.

Providing clean water, food for school lunches, nutritional education, home and community gardens, exercise classes, sports centers, playground equipment are just some examples of how Border Partners has changed lives… and that is something I want to be a part of. Don’t you?


P.S. This is the first of many blog posts I will be sharing here on our website. Please leave comments! I would love to hear your feedback and/or personal experiences with Border Partners!