A giant white bronco head marks the entrance into the Bronco Swap Meet. (Amanda Duran/Borderzine.com)

Medications from Mexico are easily obtainable without a prescription at a local swap meet

EL PASO – The aroma of fresh churros, the clamor of vendors and blaring radio stations and tables of bric-a-brac are the usual stuff of a border city flea market. But between the bootleg DVD’s and fake designer handbags at the Bronco Swap Meet here customers unable to afford drug-store prices can also find cheap prescription drugs brought from Mexico. Vivian, who asked Borderzine not use her surname, is a single mother of four who has used the Bronco Swap Meet at 8408 Alameda Avenue for years to fulfill some of her family’s medicinal needs. After a close friend told her about the availability of prescription antibiotics at Bronco, Vivian said she found that she could buy medicines at a reasonable cost at that relatively convenient location. “I have insurance from my work,” said Vivian, “but even with it, medical expenses are extreme and would significantly cut into my tight budget.”

Vivian said that at first she was very hesitant about purchasing antibiotics at the swap meet, let alone use them, but, when one of her daughters became painfully ill and she found herself in financial difficulty, she relented.

A street car service was present in the El Paso/Juarez area from 1881 until 1974. (Amanda Duran/Borderzine.com)

Posters brought to life the idea of a cross-border trolley line

EL PASO – In an effort to explain the longstanding and sometimes complicated ties between border city El Paso, Texas and its Mexican sister city Juarez to fellow classmates at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, Peter Svarzbein decided to create a fictional advertising campaign for the revival of a trolley system that would connect the two municipalities. But he never expected his hometown to incorporate his graduate thesis art project into an actual city planning proposal that could possibly stimulate the economy in both countries, and reduce the risk of drunk driving accidents. “I wanted to challenge the negative media representation about the border by using the media itself,” said Svarzbein. Svarzbein, who now lives here, hosted a presentation on the El Paso Transitional Trolley Project recently at the University of Texas at El Paso. His talk, entitled Bridging Borders, was sponsored by UTEP as a part of the school’s DYNAMIC Communication Lecture Series.

Students from the all-girls academy wait in line to get a glimpse of the inside of StoryCorps’ recording trailer.(Amanda Duran/Borderzine.com)

El Pasoans find their place in the American oral history

EL PASO – Eighty-nine year-old Rita Don attended the Loretto Academy here from kindergarten until she graduated from high school in 1939 and her story will now become a chapter in recorded history. Don said she was excited for the opportunity to leave a little piece of herself behind recorded in StoryCorps’ cross-country oral history archive tour. “I wanted to give a little of my time back to the community that gave so much of their time to me.”

StoryCorps, a non-profit organization, has spent the last nine years touring the country in order to fulfill its mission of gathering and organizing a vast collection of oral histories from everyday Americans. And after almost a decade, the organization’s MobileBooth tour will give Sun City residents the opportunity to have their stories make history. Don’s time at Loretto Academy, her years in college, her career as a medical technologist, her dream of becoming a doctor, and the eventual realization of those aspirations are topics she planned to discuss in her recording session.

The Salvation Army at El Paso. (Lucia Quinonez/Borderzine.com)

The need for the holiday giving spirit is alive all year long

EL PASO – This border city is well known for being charitable, especially when the holidays roll around, but El Paso has been hit hard by the weakened national economy, which means that community volunteering and donations are on a decline even though there is a greater need than ever. Nonprofit organizations such as the West Texas Food Bank, the Rescue Mission of El Paso and the Salvation Army need plenty of donations and volunteers year round, not only during the holiday season. Nick Maskill, a driver at the Rescue Mission of El Paso told Borderzine that many people donate during the holidays. “Everybody wants to give to somebody,” he said. Yet at other times, these nonprofit organizations have a hard time keeping up with the need in this growing city.