This post has nothing to do with MLS soccer. It actually has to do with a topic that coincides with the name of our publication, “Border Beat”. Reporting at the border is not an easy thing to do. If you are going to report at the border and you don’t have a translator, or you do not speak Spanish fluently yourself, then you better have some English speakers lined up in advance. I went down to Nogales this weekend, hoping to speak with anyone off the street who wanted to. I figured that I could easily go down and find people with an opinion they wanted to share. I was able to do this the first day. Probably because I went to a city hall meeting and waited for concerned citizens to come shuffling out. The second day, I just walked around town trying to speak with anyone who wanted to give me their opinion on any topic. Maybe that was a rookie move, or maybe it was naive, but I thought I could find people who would want to talk on camera without a problem. Most people did not want to talk to me at all. Maybe they assumed I had an ulterior motive or agenda when I said, “Talk about anything you want, anything you think people should know about Nogales or the border, or anything, it’s your opinion, ” I said. I did not think it would be “Meet the Press”-type politico pundit banter, and that’s not what I wanted, like I said, I went to everyday people shopping on a sunday afternoon. I thought people would have an opinion about something, anything, that they would want to share, given the opportunity to do so. When I asked if many people came down to speak with people here, they said, “no.”
On one hand I am being told that barely anyone comes down to speak with them, and that they disliked that. But on another hand, when I try to get the opinion of someone who might be too busy working seven days a week to attend a town hall meeting, they don’t want to talk to me. Not about anything. Not with me at least. My Spanish is good enough to explain what I was doing and what I was hoping to get by being down there, but not good enough to translate their actual opinion. Maybe having a translator would show more effort on my part. I could see that. I could see why people would then be more willing to speak with me. Upon realization of this fact, I explained that I am a student at The University of Arizona, and that I drove from Tucson to Nogales to speak with actual people who live in Nogales, and give them a forum on which they could vent about a topical issue of their choice. I spoke to various consumers, people who owned stores or shops and people who worked in those stores, markets and shops. But I had very little success my second time out there. Very few people wanted to share their opinion. I feel like this is a common symptom of many people everywhere, stage fright.