Posted: August 13, 2015 in Uncategorized
As we traveled from Honduras to Guatemala, passing through the various formal stages of migration, I became very aware (and not a little bothered by) the dynamics of power and contro,. There is machinery in place. Lists must be checked. Names and numbers matched with photos, fingerprints and manifests. From the more invasive and intense (fingerprinting and carryon baggage searches) to the less and significantly more caring guidance of our group leaders, these checkpoints along the way were intended to ensure our safety and wellbeing as well as that of our fellow travelers.
And all of this makes me wonder:
Is such care offered to the person whose families sacrificed to put together the nearly $8,000 they need to pay a coyote to move them northward? Is such careful attention given to their safety and security?
Is anyone watching over the campesinos who have been forced off their land by natural disasters or by extortioners working for transnational Palm oil manufacturers and mining companies? Is there someone looking after them, making sure they have somewhere safe to live? Is anyone providing for their security?
I doubt it.
And again… Our privilege is unbelievable. And it’s part of the problem.
Posted: August 9, 2015 in Uncategorized
Everything is wet. The paper I write on, I’m skin, my clothes. Well, not exactly wet, but to use a word I normally hate… Moist. This may well be th most humid place I’ve ever been. There isn’t much our corrugated sheet metal roof can protect us from, barring an outright downpour. Did I mention it’s hot, too? Not Arizona eyeball shrinking hot, but steam bath hot without the benefit of a massage afterwards. And it is still. In the morning there’s not even the tiniest bit of a breeze. As long as I’m complaining…
- There is no internet connection.
- The toilets are…well…
- The shower is cold.
- There are holes in the window screens
- The sleeping rooms are hot, and let’s not even talk about the beds.
And in comparison to what the people of Honduras are facing, all of this means nothing.
I repeat. These little gripes are meaningless. My temporary inconveniences are simply that – inconveniences from which I will fly away in three days.
What is heat and humidity when there are women who, at age 30, can no longer work because of workplace injuries and work related contamination? What is a lumpy mattress when there are young men who have been enslaved by gangs who offer them a choice that is no real choice: join or die? What are uncomfortable bathroom facilities when there are women whose primary work is helping families whose loved ones are among the desaparecidos? What is reliable Internet when a family was assassinated while driving down the street because they refused to pay extortion money? What is a cold shower in the morning when the Garifuna are at risk of losing their land altogether?
Once again, my privilege confronts me. Once again, I am humbled in the face of courage and strength of those doing the hardest work.