Week 2: When Need Meets Gift

Trip Start Nov 25, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , Texas
Sunday, January 14, 2007

Early on our list of possible volunteer sites was Las Americas Advocacy Center, which provides pro-bono legal aid to immigrants struggling for legal U.S. status. Since the office had just moved, it took us a while to find them, and we dropped in without any appointment and introduced ourselves to the receptionist. Mary advised us to speak with Sr. Liliane, the executive director, who would be back from court in 30 minutes, so we waited.

Sr. Liliane was an "event" worth waiting for. She greeted us warmly, listened to our goals carefully, and overflowed with enthusiasm. This was the agency's second day (!) in their new office building, so she joyfully toured us through, introducing us to the staff as we went. An international woman-originating in Paris, France and having served in Lebanon-Sr. Liliane was trailed by a French cinematographer who was in El Paso to film her for a television documentary for European broadcast. Since we were part of her day, we signed permissions to be filmed (and fervently hope we'll end up on the cutting room floor!).

We were immediately impressed with the operation and committed ourselves on the spot to give one day each week to their needs. "Make it two!" Sr. Liliane suggested, exuding irresistible charm.

"A true border, a true place of encounter, is by nature permeable. It is not like medieval armor, but rather like skin. Our skin does set a limit to where our body begins and where it ends. But if we ever close up our skin, we die." Justo Gonzalez (taken from Las Americas brochure)
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