I have been in Falfurrias, TX, now for three weeks. (six SNDs are now ministering in Texas).
On August 12, Eddie, a co-worker at the South Texas Human Rights Center (STHRC) received a call from a distraught dad. The man had work authorization papers and was employed in a northern U.S. state. His 20 year old son had left their home in Guatemala on July 9 in an attempt to cross the Mexico-US border to join him. Though father and son had managed to communicate during most of the journey, suddenly the communication stopped. Receiving news that his son had been left behind due to the inability to continue, the dad called STHRC, “Could you please find my son?”
Given the dates and knowing the desert terrain it seemed most likely that we at STHRC might be looking for the remains of the young man.
The father gave Eddie these clues: The young man and his group had fled from a car at a given intersection and had run for about an hour. When the young man could no longer move forward, he was left under a tree. Somewhere nearby were little mountains and water.
Three of us from STHRC followed the clues driving nine miles west from Falfurrias to the intersection where the boys started running north. We drove on the two-lane mostly deserted road with nothing but flat land, desert brush, cacti, and low bushes on both sides. The terrain was impenetrable to the eye; even the earth right next to the road was invisible due to high grasses. Since the land was flat, the little mountains would be evident. Since the land was parched, the water would be evident. Since there were lots of bushes but few trees, the tree would be evident. Or so we hoped.
We estimated that we were working within a five mile radius. But we had more questions than answers. How far from the road had they run? Which side of the road? How fast could they run through the sand, cacti and bushes? Did they lose their direction? Truly, we were looking for a needle in a haystack.
A little beyond five miles, a rancher was using big equipment digging a caliche pit extracting earth that had a high content of gravel. In the process, mounds of dirt had been formed. It seemed we had found the little mountains. We inspected the area on foot but found nothing.
We retraced our drive paying attention to the other side of the road. Eddie walked near the fence (most properties have wire fencing) through the tall grasses looking for breaks in the fence. Nothing.
We did note that where the little mountains were still visible a road sign indicated that we were crossing a creek. A lovely shade tree was right there. Perhaps the young man had been left here. Once again Eddie walked through the tall grasses to the tree. No water was visible but we were convinced that this would have been the ideal place to leave the young man based on the clues and the surroundings. Being in a neighboring county, Eddie called the sheriff of that county. The sheriff said they had not found anyone dead or alive recently in that area. Another dead-end.
Eddie called the dad to report on our search and our suspicions that his son had been left under a particular tree. Eddie continued to probe the dad with questions. It seems that we really do need to find a place where there are little mountains, a tree and real water.
The search continues.
Thank you for your support and prayers.