2015 Villanova Spring Service Trip

Mar 26, 2015
Category: Immigrants
Te students answer the questions of sister Margarita Martin after their experience with the people of Oasis, Athens, Georgia


Please share the memory you treasure about your experience at Oasis:

  • Seeing how smart all the children are!  There are future doctors, teachers, dancers, artists and maybe civil rights activists here!
  • Everything.  It was a fantastic trip, and I'm so happy to have had this opportunity.  Specifically, fixing homes was my favorite part.  It’s hard to believe anyone can live in such dilapidated trailers as the ones we worked on.  I really enjoyed fixing small issues, which I know make a huge difference in the residents' lives.
  • On Friday, we went to mass and then to gather the eggs from UGA. Sister Margarita explained the campus, the history behind how Oasis received the eggs, and then the distribution process. It was incredible to see 83 tickets being handed out to collect nearly 6,000 eggs.
  • My favorite memory from my experience at Oasis was definitely tutoring the kids after school.  Even though there were very difficult circumstances surrounding their lives, the kids were able to focus on their schoolwork, or reading a book or playing "I have, Who has...".  I loved seeing their smiling faces and spending time with them each day.
  • I treasure being a part of the community here at Oasis. I felt privileged to be in the presence of such amazing, selfless people. The memory that stood out to me the most specifically was the immigration meeting on Sunday. The rallying presence of Sister Margarita was incredible to witness. She was a unifying force for these people, and she gave them hope. The community members were also first and foremost concerned with their children, which was so admirable. They were willing to sacrifice themselves for the chance for their children to have a better life. It was just such a unique, powerful experience for me.
  • I was working with a girl who came into the classroom and put her head down and started crying . She was scared for her parents being taken by immigration. By the end of the day we were laughing and playing together and it made me realize that even though I couldn't alleviate all her family's suffering, just being there and listening helped to heal her heart in some small way.
  • There are so many memories that I will take away after the experience at Oasis. I will remember the children that I worked with- especially Leslie in the 2nd grade as we had a very strong bond. I will remember working on the trailer with my group.
  • I really enjoyed working with the kids during tutoring and just getting to really know and talk to them for extended periods of time. They are tough to handle at times, but very enjoyable to be around.
  • While it's not something I would wish upon anyone, I feel that it was very important for our group to be here during this particular week because of the higher than normal frequency in which ICE officers were conducting raids in the community, which meant that we got a chance to really visualize just how bleak the situation is for members of this community and really let that tragedy sink in. The memory I will remember most is the community meeting we got to see on our second night, where Sister Margarita spoke to the community and attempted to empower them by informing them of their rights and stressing the importance of sticking together during this difficult time. It was a sense of community I have so rarely seen and it blew me away how such a community could be formed through such a terrible situation.

What did you learn about immigration issues?

  • "So much.....I don't even know where to start.  What an experience!  Something needs to change now with our immigration laws.  They are not working - bottom line.
  • I knew a good amount about immigration issues before I came to Oasis.  This trip allowed all that information to truly hit home.  I had heard life was rough for an immigrant, but I hadn't realized just how rough it really was.  I didn't learn as much about immigration as much as I digested the information I already knew.
  • It's frustrating to see families torn apart. The idea that these children could have a parent taken away from them any night is irritating because the kids are natural born citizens.
  • I saw a different side of immigration this week that I never would have experienced.  It was important I think to meet the families and learn about their lives.  I've learned so much about how the police operate and how corrupt their policies are, and the importance of sharing what I learned with others.  It definitely should be much easier to grant citizenship for others, and it just all seems very unfair for these people. 
  • I learned so so much about immigration. I never realized how completely corrupt the system was, especially in states like Georgia. I didn't realize that the ICE agents take people because they can, and I didn't realize the amount of brain washing that happens from their higher-ups. I also learned about some of the laws in the south, like the one that allows officers to stop a Latino and ask for papers based solely on their appearances. It appalled me that our country can still be so openly racist and prejudiced without rhyme or reason.
  • There is so much that I learned about immigration. Especially that Georgia and other states have very different laws and policies than other states. I learned that it is very difficult to impossible to immigrant legally and about the hardships that it takes to cross the border. I learned that these people are such beautiful souls and that there is a huge gap in understanding upon many people in the population about what is going on.
  • I learned a lot about why immigrants have come to states for from the border, such as Georgia. I also learned about the immigration laws in the south and how tough it can be to be an immigrant in the south. ICE hanging around Oasis all week also really taught me a lot about how they operate and the fears that immigrants face on a daily basis.
  • I knew a fair amount about immigration issues coming into the experience, but I definitely learned a lot about the various struggles of immigrants or the general attitude of lawmakers or the general public towards immigrants in Georgia specifically. The fact that ICE officers were actually trying to take people away during the week also gave me a completely new perspective on exactly how much fear these people live in or just how dire their situation is.

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