Monday, September 20, 2010

seed bank

I know what I know, A wind in the trees, And a road that goes winding under, From here I see rain, I hear thunder
Somewhere there's sun, and you don't need a reason

The breeze travels down the street, past the Courthouse and the church steeple before caressing my skin and gently playing with the hair on the back of my neck. I sit on the steps waiting. The cool is like a long lost friend, the feel of cloth beneath my knee is a forgotten feeling. The cool brings with it refreshment and a relief that hasn't been felt in months, and yet the undertow is something strong and unsettling. It's pulling. Asking me to run, telling me it's time again.

I tuck my feet underneath the wide leg of my sweats to fight off the chill and sit a little longer. I watch as the trucks pull into the lot across the street, open the gate, and go home to their families. A little seed of thought was dropped nonchalantly yesterday into my brain, yet it took off like mad. It needs to be pruned and cut back. Maybe even transplanted. It's not ready to bloom yet. Better yet, I'm not ready for it to mature.

So instead I put the seed into a seed repository cryobank where it will stay frozen until I'm ready for it to be planted again. Until then I'll fight with the message of the wind and sit defiantly and watch the sunrise.

Little bird, little bird, Brush your gray wings on my head, Say what you said, say it again, They tell me I'm crazy, But you told me I'm golden


"Even in war there are rules. And in any conflict there are protocols or guarantees to the warring sides, to safeguard the integrity of the journalists covering them. Therefore, I reiterate, gentlemen of the various drug trafficking organizations, explain what you want from us so we can stop paying our infringements with the lives of our colleagues." -

This is what Mexico has fallen to. Living on the border is a completely different world. While I feel completely safe on this side of the fence, I also know the stories of what is happening on the other side. I hear stories of grenades being thrown in front of police buildings, journalists being killed or blackmailed, trucks and SUVs being stolen at gunpoint, police helping the gang members escape. And all of these coming from a completely different world that is three blocks to the south of where I am now.

Residents live in fear of being caught in the crossfire. Of losing their families, their homes and their lives.

If this isn't a time to start praying for God's intervention, I don't know what is.

I wasn't going to share the website that reported what a paper in Juarez wrote to the druglords and cartels, but the article was moving. This type of news doesn't normally make it further north. Usually the story stops on the border, but not today.

I heard a story today of two small children living on the streets in Piedras. Recently they witnessed the death of their father, mother and grandmother by one of the gangs here in town. The children were then left to fend for themselves. None of the orphanages will take them because the gang issued a warning, that these children were left to pay the debt of their killed family members. If someone takes them away, the gang will track the children down and bring them back using whatever means is necessary.

The money that Eagle Pass gets from the Border tolls is down by 83%. Residents of Eagle Pass that were raised or have family in Piedras don't go to Mexico. Families are getting out, coming back to the United States where it is safer.

It makes you wonder why the United States isn't fighting this battle. Of course, the real question is how would you even start, but like I said before if you aren't praying for intervention..... start.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Viva Mexico

This week marks the 200th anniversary of Mexican Independence. Which translates into epic party for Eagle Pass and Piedras Negras, lots of yelling, and fantastic food.

We started the week with a quaint little parade and ended it with shots of tequila from the Mexican Consulate. Okay maybe a lot of shots with the consulate.

I spent Thursday in Laredo with other transplants working the disaster relief scene. We sat down to lunch and immediately they started complaining about how they hated Laredo. Granted these were well-off gringos with families back in Houston and Austin and would never choose Laredo, but they didn't like anything about it.

The biggest complaint was that they were stared at all the time. This is a common thing down here, mostly because if you aren't hispanic, you're a misfit. They wanted to be greeted when they walked in a store, thanked when they left a restaurant, and generally accepted. I sat silently at first, because this type of thing doesn't bother me. I mean I'm always stared at. If it isn't because I'm the wrong skin tone, it's because I have mile-long legs, and if it isn't that it's probably because I'm doing something stupid. The Austinites just couldn't handle it and couldn't wait to get back inland to where they belonged, and didn't have to hear spanish.

I realized as I was driving home that I felt the same way, kind of. The whole day I couldn't wait to get back to Eagle Pass. I wanted to see people I knew. I wanted to be the misfit in this little town. I am okay with the crazy gringa title.

Crazy.... who would of thought this would be where would I be.

But really, if you think about it, who would want to pass up a town where you can spend the night in boots drinking tequila with Eagle Pass royalty?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Ramped up love

It's a long long way from Myrtle Beach to LA, Anything could change her mind, one sunset, one regret, she could turn around, come back, and be mine. Then everything would be just fine, Happy Endings happen all the time....

I have a new job. For the state of Texas. An official one.

One that comes with a laptop, blackberry, copier/scanner/fax, milage reimbursement, and a big girl salary.

Yet with all this it's hard to think about tearing myself away from the families here in Eagle Pass. The ones that wouldn't make enough in a year to afford the technology that is going to just be handed to me.

At church yesterday, some of my new friends came to visit. The Pimental's are a couple living in a bright pink trailer. The windows are broken out from a storm in May, there is no electricity, no plumbing and no indoor toilet. Guillermo had a stroke and cannot make it up the stairs into his trailer. He has to crawl. When you walk through the trailer you have to avoid the soft spots that would give way if too much weight is applied. The left wall of the trailer rests precariously against two rotted beams that hold it up. If you apply too much pressure it will fall away from the body of the trailer. Volunteers at the church spent the last weekend building a ramp so that the wheelchair and Guillermo can get into his house. The Volunteers also promised to come back and build them a real house. One with wires and pipes and handicap accessibility. Guillermo and Juanita cried the whole weekend.

After all of that they were at a church that doesn't speak their language. And they brought with them their neighbor and her two children. They wanted to show how grateful they were for the help.

We are so used to being comfortable and staying in our comfort zone that many of us would never even think about going to a church where you won't understand anything. Or standing up in front of the congregation and telling everyone how much your life has changed in just a week. All it takes is a little love, a willing heart, and capable hands.

Now I have to remove myself from stories like these. Not because I won't be helping anymore, but because I get to share this love through many more neighborhoods and towns. It's exciting to see this spread...