Published On: Fri, Dec 25th, 2015

Naco: where the international border also serves as a volleyball net

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Think of international borders and the first image that comes to mind is that of heavily armed personnel on both sides of the fence. While that image is true for almost all international borders  across the globe, the town of naco- a town on the border of United States of America and Mexico paints  a quite different picture.

Residents of both towns, in both countries used to gather at the border to play volleyball. Bystanders on each side of the border would drink beer as they watched the game. The tradition goes as far back as 1979, when the game was played during International Friendship Day. The more intriguing part is that the net used for the game is actually the International border between the two countries.

Until the 1960s, the towns of Naco, Arizona and Naco, Mexico were one, small, united town. When tensions rose between the two nations over illegal immigration, the community was split in two. In 1979, residents from both sides decided to use the rusted fence as a volleyball net and for the last 34 years, they’ve continued to celebrate the spirit of their community in the face of strict border control and political friction.
The US-Mexico border stretches 1,954 miles (3,145 kilometers) from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean. The political tensions of the international border are widely known, but the defiant residents of Naco – both in Arizona and Mexico – choose to show the world that a border cannot define their community nor break their spirit.

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