The past few days have been full of eventful orientation activities. We’ve spent our time introducing ourselves to one another, taking in all of the beautiful New Mexican scenery, and trying to avoid sitting on spiky thistles. I’m gradually adjusting to sleeping in a tent; each night, I fall asleep to the sounds of distant trains, barking dogs, and howling wind. I’ve also began adjusting to the Southwestern climate. During the day, it gets pretty hot, and being from chilly New England, I must remind myself that sunscreen exists. Conversely, the nights are pretty cold; I double up on socks and pull my sleeping bag so just my nose and mouth are exposed. We can see ciudad Juarez, Mexico from our campsite. Perhaps most shocking are the nightly border control helicopter drones. They scan the border wall with a huge light straight out of a sci-fi movie. We were all mesmerized (and slightly horrified) by these drone helicopters that flew over us and scanned the border; these drones were equipped with infrared heat detecting equipment and powerful spotlights. It is absurd to me that so much money, resources, and resources are allocated just to hunt people who have nothing. In a few days, we will embark on our first major trek in Big Bend National Park; each day, we will be hiking through the desert for 8 hours. It’s been a while since I’ve fastened on my trekking backpack, and I can’t wait to see what’s out there. I hope all is well at home and I am missing lots of people and my dog. We will be offline until after the trek but I will sure to call after.