From a lookout in Big Bend National Park we could see the town of Boquillas just over the Rio Grande. For decades visitors took boat rides without a passport, washed down tacos with mezcal, and got back to their tents before sundown.
The closest Mexican city is 7 hours away through rough dirt roads. When the border crossing was closed in 2002, the town was isolated from supplies and revenue and many of the 300 residents had to relocate.
A local river guide, Cynta de Narvaez, taught women in the town how to make quilts. After a few years they saved up enough to purchase solar panels to speed up their production.
The income from quilts helped the town survive until 2013, when the border reopened. The economy is steadily recovering with tourism back up, a new elementary school, and additional solar panels. You now need passports to cross, which we didn't have with us, but has to be one of the highlights of a Big Bend trip.