A seesaw at the border lets children in Mexico and the U.S. play together

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Despite the fact that there is a literal wall between them, children in Mexico and the United States are now able to play with each other.

Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello, co-founders of the studio Rael San Fratello, have found a way to connect people across barriers with a simple contraption: a seesaw. 

Early this week, Rael, an architecture professor at the University of California, Berkeley, posted a video of children playing together on seesaws that go through the U.S.-Mexico border wall. He and San Fratello, an assistant professor of interior design at San José State University, came up with the seesaw project together. Rael explained on Instagram that the idea, which they called the “Teetertotter Wall,” began in 2009 as conceptual drawings. 

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One of the most incredible experiences of my and @vasfsf’s career bringing to life the conceptual drawings of the Teetertotter Wall from 2009 in an event filled with joy, excitement, and togetherness at the borderwall. The wall became a literal fulcrum for U.S. – Mexico relations and children and adults were connected in meaningful ways on both sides with the recognition that the actions that take place on one side have a direct consequence on the other side. Amazing thanks to everyone who made this event possible like Omar Rios @colectivo.chopeke for collaborating with us, the guys at Taller Herrería in #CiudadJuarez for their fine craftsmanship, @anateresafernandez for encouragement and support, and everyone who showed up on both sides including the beautiful families from Colonia Anapra, and @kerrydoyle2010, @kateggreen , @ersela_kripa , @stphn_mllr , @wakawaffles, Chris Gauthier and many others (you know who you are). #raelsanfratello #borderwallasarchitecture

A post shared by Ronald Rael (@rrael) on

The hot pink seesaws are built between El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez in Mexico’s Chihuahua State. The project comes at a time when the border has captured the nation’s attention due to reports of ill-treatment of migrants at U.S. border stations. 

“The wall became a literal fulcrum for U.S.-Mexico relations and children and adults were connected in meaningful ways on both sides with the recognition that the actions that take place on one side have a direct consequence on the other side,” Rael said in his Instagram post. 

For Rael, the seesaw project is “one of the most incredible experiences” of both his and San Fratello’s career. 

Watching families play on the seesaws, he explained, was “an event filled with joy, excitement, and togetherness.” 

The seesaws show that despite physical forces dividing us, there are always ways for people to connect. Indeed, RAICES, a nonprofit that provides legal services to immigrants in Texas, tweeted about the seesaws, calling them a “beautiful installation at our southern border.” 

The installation is a reminder that one side’s actions have a direct impact on the other side. In another Instagram post, Rael said, “the joy that was shared this day on both sides is something that will stay with me forever.”

Mashable has reached out to Rael for comment and will update if he responds. 

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