Thursday, April 30, 2009
I spend a lot of time working on various areas of my life. I spend a lot of time maintaining friendships and my relationship with my family. I also work very hard at school and try to have as many adventures as possible. But it is easy to go through life doing these things without really considering the order and reality of your priorities. It was also very interesting to discuss these tests with the other students at the Wesley Center. Most of us rate our family and friends very high in our priorities, and things like orderliness and wealth were less important.
For the final activity of the evening we all made up a character and then played a game involving epidemics with a shortage of medicine, lifeboats without enough space or food, and pirates who demanded human sacrifice. The point of the exercise was to vote each time for one character to have to die. While we treated this as a sort of funny game, we also discussed how leaders make decisions like this all the time, based on factors like wealth and youth.
I really enjoyed this evening, also, because we all got a chance to talk about ourselves and our own outlooks on life. I love the activities we do together when we study other topics, but sometimes it is a wonderful thing to talk about our own experiences and plans.
I also discovered something about myself that night: I am an extremely manipulative person. My nondescript character was the second-to-last to get voted off the lifeboat!
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Below are some pictures and film from the Spring Fling, we are grateful to those who support the Wesley Center and hope you will continue to do so in whatever ways you and your family can.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
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Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Note: the majority of this blog was previously published at http://www.isupportuoregon.org/my_duckstory/blog/katie_d
I have really struggled with starting this blog.
I want to write about my experience during spring break. I want to write about being out in the desert with the humanitarian aid organization No More Deaths, and tell you about hiking food, water, and medical assistance out onto the migrant trails in an effort to end suffering and death along our southern border. I want to write about the stories told, hardships witnessed, and friendships made. I undertook this trip with five other Oregon students, with the blessings and support of many people in our Eugene community, especially Warren and some kind folks at First United Methodist Church.
But it is hard to begin. It is hard on two levels: a personal and a public one. On a personal level this is a hard story to tell because my spring break was such an emotionally overpowering time. It was nearly bipolar: to witness suffering and be present in places that memorialized the pain of my fellow human beings, but at the same time to be surrounded by beauty and the hilarity that comes with close proximity between friends. It was an emotional jumble that I am far from sorting through.
But the public concern is just as difficult a barrier. This is not an issue that people feel united on. My alternative-style spring break was not helping to mitigate Hurricane Katrina damage, nor was it working with Habitat for Humanity. That is work that is not controversial, that I would stand in good company for doing: it’s work that nearly everyone would say is deeply needed and for the good of all.
But you tell the wrong person you were working on the border, helping “those Illegal Immigrants,” and you witness such extremes of reactions. You hear people applaud your humanitarian efforts less often than you hear the familiar litany of complaints: job loss, poverty, crime. And you have reactions of fear: fear that you were on the border consorting with drug runners and murderers.
I am not looking for approval or applause for my efforts in the desert. I do, however, feel moved to tell the stories and to share what I have learned and witnessed regarding this very complicated issue of migration. So, over the course of several blogs, I would like to tell a variety of stories. I will write about men I talked with at a soup kitchen in Nogales after they had been deported. I will write about the militarization of the border: about Border Patrol helicopters and car searches, and about seeing various aspects of the Border Wall, from art in Nogales to virtual wall towers to a section of fence outside of Sasabe that cost $8 million a mile but took a friend of mine less than thirty seconds to climb. And I want to write about two places we visited that moved me beyond what I can express in the format of a brief summary.
But for now, back to the personal part of this story. Camping in the desert a
nd working with No More Deaths changed me, and changed my expectations for my daily routines. I did not use a computer all week. I turned my cellphone off, and did not use my ipod. I also did not shower. The desert and our purpose there emptied me of many of my usual desires and habits. Instead I drank in a beautiful place, bonded with inspirational people, worked hard, and did my best to help those who needed it.
And now, back in Eugene, I feel called to hop back in a car and drive the 22 hours back to Tucson, to stay in the desert tent with its routine and its purpose. I will end this blog by saying that I will be going back to work with No More Deaths. This summer if I can, next spring break for sure, and possibly the entire summer after I graduate.
So please, read the coming blogs that we will be writing. We will all be posting these stories: stories of what affected us most, stories of harsh realities we have now witnessed. Hear what is happening with your (tacit) political consent and your tax dollars. Imagine the footprints in the baking sun, the lives left behind and the enormous fear of desert and patrols. I hope my stories can contribute to changes, somehow, that will lead to fewer deaths on our border, and to less fear.
I feel very present, still, in the desert and in what is happening there. I feel close to and conscious of the thousands crossing the desert tonight, desperately hoping for a new home and a true chance in life.