Code Pink Journals CodePINK Journals

Work 4 Peace,Hold All Life Sacred,Eliminate Violence! I am on my mobile version of the door-to-door, going town-to-town holding readings/gatherings/discussions of my book "But What Can I Do?" This is my often neglected blog mostly about my travels since 9/11 as I engage in dialogue and actions. It is steaming with my opinions, insights, analyses toward that end of holding all life sacred, dismantling the empire and eliminating violence while creating the society we want ALL to thrive in

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Next Steps - to be continued

As I prepare to continue my journey around the country, I'm very sad and torn about leaving the border. Today, after spending almost two hours working with several families from Haiti and Venezuela, trying to answer their questions, figure out what they needed for the next steps in this perilous journey for asylum, trying to welcome them to this horrid country, trying to be at least one immediate kind face, I thought about how I'd really love to continue doing this for the rest of my life.

But then I thought about the hot weather, the tornado, the lack of organic food choices

Fearful of Me

I think this is probably the hardest job I've ever had: greeting refugees coming over the boarder thru the new cpb one app.

First of all, knowing the hardships they have faced and triumphed over. Second knowing what is still on their plate while also knowing the plate they imagine is not necessarily the plate they will be served.

Then of course my struggles trying to communicate with my poor Spanish &/or non-existent Creole.

But probably the hardest struggle and most heart-breaking part is getting people to trust me to walk them two blocks to the bus station or another half block to the Welcome Center or another two blocks to the shelter. It's unimaginable what they must have experienced to be so fearful of me.

Friday, May 12, 2023

Four year old girl dies of cardiac arrest in bp custody

How the hell can a four year old die of cardiac arrest?

How about somehow traversing from Honduras thru Guatemala, maybe Belize into Mexico, crossing the border maybe by herself, with or without her mother or father, put into a juvenile 'detention' center in fuckin Michigan???

That's how.

From Russia With ... Intrigue....

The next group of refugees I speak with are from Russia. The man with the blue wrist ban I approach appears to be maybe in his early 30's, very tall, fit, white skinned with a shaved head. He begins talking in passable english, really openly with me, telling me he and his wife are here, plus his friend and neighbor.

I ask him how he learned English and he tells me his mother used to be an English teacher in Russia and taught him when he was little but he's forgotten a lot. So who knew Russians were being taught english while we were being taught hate and fear. Even though he shyly explains he hasn't spoken english in a long time, he only stumbles a little and speaks much better English than I do Spanish. I can see him figuring out the english in his head as he speaks.

I ask him how long he has been traveling for and at first he says 2 or 3 years, but then shakes his head trying to free up the words and says instead he waited for two weeks in Turkey for his wife to join him. She stayed behind in Russia to sell their home but he had to leave immediately. I'm not sure if I understood but I got the impression his rush had to do with his army status and the war.

He confides in me that he has been in the Russian army, confirming (I think) this is why he has to leave the country. He announces the leader of Russia is crazy, to fight a people who are the same people. He refuses to do this. I tell him the leader of our country is crazy also and when he frowns and looks at me querulously, I say 34 BILLION dollars to engage in war in Ukraine. He nods in understanding and tells me "but it is an artificial war". Then he hastens to declare he is not a fascist or a nazi.

We've been talking several minutes, me asking questions, he answering promptly and openly, before he suddenly hesitates, looks at me and asks me if I'm a Russian agent. I've been accused of many things but being an agent of Russia has never (that I remember - a communist, yes, but not an agent) been something I've been previously charged with. I can’t help laughing but just say "no" and he seems to immediately accept my non-existent ties with Russia, not that I could have proven I have no ties to Russia.

It will occur to me later that maybe he is the one who is some kind of agent, he's so smooth and forth-coming about his almost preposterous journey here. And it is definitely unlike any other refugee, Russian or not, story I've heard thus far. But he is entitled to create or divulge any narrative that suits him, based in reality or spy-dome. One thing is for certain, he has definitely left Russian to become a refugee.

I ask him if he flew to Istanbul but he immediately says no, that he had to sneak out of Russia on a boat. He said the Russian authorities didn't know he was leaving for good, but if he were to go the ‘legal’ route, they would question why he was traveling, detain him, probably discover his true motivation and send him back. He couldn’t risk this so he decided to escape clandestinely by water. For two nights and two days he and a friend maybe stowed upon a 'yacht' (he hesitates, stumbling to find this word) or maybe rowed a boat, navigating the Black Sea to land on the coast of Turkey. It is not clear to me whether the boat is really a yacht or fishing vessel, but as he speaks, he shifts his eyes and rushes on to the next part of his story. From the coast he makes his way to Istanbul where he rented an apartment to wait for his wife. She is able to come through the Russian check points, as she is not military and word of his escape has not yet reached the Russian authorities.

He continues his story that now really does sound like a spy movie. I think he says he travels to Ankara where he seeks out the amerikkan consulate. Or he might have done this in Istanbul – his English gets a little challenging here but I don’t want to interrupt the flow of his story he is giving to me. When I ask him if they helped him come here, he grins like a 5 year old hiding a cookie in his pocket, and says they did not but he was the one who helped them. From this point in for the next few moments of our conversation, he keeps eluding to the fact that he stole something from Russia and turned it over to the u.s. embassy. He speaks mysteriously yet with a devilish pride. And I have a feeling what he has done he wants to brag about yet knows he's probably in deep shit with his homeboys.

He tells me while he and his wife were waiting to arrange travel to Mexico City, they have to go into hiding because the Russians have discovered his betrayal as well as his apartment and came after him. He motions to himself to demonstrate his fitness and ability to fight, assuring me he could handle the fight and come out the victor. but he says his wife is unable to do this, therefore they hide. Several times he alludes to his wife's fragility and she is very tiny, short and slender but I'm not so sure about fragile - yet I merely look skeptical and he continues his story.

I ask him if he went to Spain next which is the pathway I’ve heard from previous Russians, but he says no. He explains that Russians can fly directly to Mexico City, just filling out a visa application on line - it's very easy, much easier, by the way he states emphatically, than the cbp one application.

From Mexico City, they went to Laredo and three weeks later, they had their appointment to cross into the u.s. today from Matamoros so they left Laredo and came to wait another couple weeks in Matamoros. He points out the white tented building whose roof is just visible from the plaza and indicates that is where they were housed until this morning. Their appointment was at 6a.m. - along with many other people - and they went to the line at 5:30 as he was not going to miss his allotted time, although it was much later when they were finally processed.

When I asked how they got chosen to stay in the tented sheltered building and not forced to join the other refugees waiting along the river in the mud and elements, he struggled to understand what I meant. Then it dawned on him and he explained a little guiltily that the building was for people who had appointments scheduled already. He said it was very nice with cots for everyone - they didn't have to sleep on the ground - and they were protected from the rain and sun, unlike most of the other children, womyn and men refugees.

I thank him for sharing his story with me, while his wife who speaks no or little english, approaches us and says something in Russian that he interprets as her request to take a picture of me. She likes my shirt which today says “Death To Racism” because it is nothing but racism that is fueling the terror our country is inflicting on darker skinned refugees. But she actually wants to take a picture of me and her husband together – and so we do!

And then the Russians are on their way feeling confident that their escape from Putin and communism will provide an easy entrance into the u.s. and their white skin and her very blond hair will provide easy transition to the amerikkkan nitemare, which will mostly be true I'm sure.

What's wrong with Florida

I have noticed there are some people milling about the plaza with very obvious blue wrist bands similar to those you might get for entrance to a fair or a concert.

I approach one family group of a womon and two men, tell them “bienvenido” and then ask them if they speak Spanish. One of the men smile broadly as he says in English “yes”. I ask if he speaks English. No, not really.

I push forward and ask “de que pais son” to blank stares. I try in English: “What country are you from?”

“Haiti” is the answer and again I smile broadly, tell them welcome and shake each person’s proffered hand. I ask if they speak French or Creole and it’s Creole.

Now I get to talk with them as I summon up google on my phone and ask her to translate into Creole which she happily does.

They tell me they’ve been traveling for 5 months and living at the border in a camp for four months. They said it was very hard to get the cbp one app to work. After three tries, they finally able to schedule an appointment.

Their intention is to go to Florida and when they see my face, they ask me if there’s anything wrong with Florida. Instead of counting all the ways, I suggest they might want to go to New York but the three of them laugh in unison, shake their heads and say they must be as close to Haiti as possible.

I ask if they want to return to Haiti one day and sadness envelops their already drawn faces. After looking at each other, the womon takes my phone and has google translate: there is so much violence and starvation, there is no hope for a better day but she will never give up hope.


I return today to the plaza across from the bridge where refugees will pass, if they make it.

The very first thing I notice is that there is only one police car - Texas highway patrol - and the usual preponderance of bp.

As I am waiting trying to figure out what is happening, a young man, whose parents crossed the river in the early 80’s, begins a conversation with me, asking me if I’m waiting for family as he is.

When I tell him kinda, I’m waiting for refugees crossing over he looks me directly into my eyes and guardedly asks me if I will give him my opinion about what is happening – and of course I do. He relaxes and then concurs with me about the atrocities that we are inflicting upon these people seeking asylum.

He tells me he was born here so he can pass freely across the border – as could his parents and older brother in the beginning but no longer.

He explains that only 60 people will be allowed to cross the border today, 60 people who have completed the cbp one mobil application: 30 in the morning and then 30 in the late afternoon.

It’s 90 degrees by this time around noon. His eyes so sad, he tells me this past December he bought 200 toys for the children stuck in the camp across the bridge and it wasn’t enuff. It wasn't 90 degrees then but more like 29 degrees.

This morning he saw lots of children sleeping on the ground, in line or still in the camp, in the intense sun, heat and humidity. I’ve only been standing here about 20 minutes and my clothes are totally wet.

His face reflects deep sorrow as well as utter disbelief.

He tells me his brother is here to pick him up, shakes my hand, and over his shrugging shoulders he asks me "Why?"

Tuesday, May 09, 2023

The Y, The Library, The Blog, The Road!

I’m back to my ‘normal’ pre-covid routine finafuckinly of going to the y to stretch and work out, and then to the library to blog. So blog I will.

I haven’t been able to blog because I happened to fuckin forget my computer at home – grrrrr – always take that final sweep around your living quarters before embarking on a journey, as you never know what you’ve forgotten.

Today, I started out from one of my favorite rest stops in Arizona, the Texas Canyon Rest Stop, where I spent the night last night.

My original plan was to make it to Brownsville by May 11th but obviously, I’ve only made it to El Paso. I will proceed to Tornillo this evening after I catch up on my blog.

Unfortunately, the long grey section hoovering way back in the photo is not the glorious fog of the Bay, but fuckin smog.

I thought these seeds were worthy of note!

Monday, May 08, 2023

The "good" Border Patrol Agent VS the "bad" Border Patrol Agent Conversation! to be continued

My heart, my hat, my deepest admiration and awe goes out to the volunteers who work along the border, day in and day out – not just for a few days a few times a year, like me.

I can land on the border, choose what kind of work I’m going to do and with whom, and I represent myself alone but most of all, I can leave. And I do leave.

But the people who live and work here 24/7 have to reach some kind of balance between the border patrol, the vigilante groups and individuals, their neighbors and residents, while trying to provide humanitarian aid to human beings who already have a huge barrier to accessing the amerikkkan nitemare yet are going beyond human lengths to grasp – and I’m not necessarily talking about the 30 foot steel girders and reams of fuckin barbed wire.

Yet these volunteers, like all of the people who are privileged enough to not be the ‘normal’, designated targets of military, police, or border patrol, seem determined to defend and point out the existence of the “good” border patrol officer. Or the “good” cop; or the “good” soldier.

When I mention that it’s really more than about the individual but that both these individual good or bad agents are employed under the same ruthless institutional umbrella whose sole purpose is to hunt down and capture if not control and incarcerate other human beings our country has deemed “illegal”.

So even if the individual who has the job of hunting down humans, or policing the poor to protect the wealth of the rich, or killing around the world to defend u.s. business interests, even if that individual who engages in these agencies believes he (95% of bp agents are male – womyn are not usually hunters) is a “good” person or conducting himself with honor, it is still his job to do cruel things.

And yes of course, I’d rather be arrested by a kind officer who doesn’t cut off my circulation with the tightness of the cuffs; or I’d rather see a kind bp agent attempting to be humane finding the sickest child and mother to be the first to enter the bus that will take them to detention. Of course.

But this is nothing to be grateful for, really. These are human beings caught, often willingly, in a system that harms others.

Then there is the privilege I have that I have never been desperate enough to consider attempting to get this kind of job. It is another pull

The Search through the Arizona Desert - SUCCESS from Chiapas!

I’m joining the Samaritans again this morning to seek human beings lost or hurt in the desert. We will provide food, water, socks, a cell battery charger, and a totally essential “life straw” water filter so refugees can drink directly from ponds or puddles without fear of dying – at least from whatever is in that water.

We are a carload of four old white womyn – me being the youngest at almost 73, with a 76 year old, 79 year old almost 80, and an 82 year old!

Pretty amazing these womyn are all fit and able to traipse around the desert whenever we stop or to unlatch a cow fence and relock it!

And pretty amazing that this is the work these elder womyn are committed to doing with their time at this point in their lives.

The day is not too hot (for inside a vehicle) and beautiful with some gusts of winds.

We drive for several miles on paved roads heading to the desert lands where refugees are most likely to be in trouble and be spotted. Although we look hard out the windows, the terrain is so full of mountains and crevices, valleys and scrub brush – not to mention cows – that it feels impossible to spot anyone unless they make themselves known.

But how can they ever make themselves known, not knowing if we’re vigilantes or police, someone bent on harming them or someone determined to help?

As we leave the pavement, the ‘roads’, which is a very generous label, are dirt and not flat (another generous characteristic) which includes huge ruts, rocks and boulders. Plus they wind around and up and down, most likely first formed by animals and later expanded by humans.

I had thought we should have a pendant like a white flag sticking up from the roof, except white wouldn’t stand out in this place of light colors, white rocks and sand, browns and greens and blacks. It would have to be like neon red or orange.

I also thought maybe we should be playing music over a boom box, like Bella Ciao or Welcome to the United States.

My naivety or not seeing the entire picture is evident as I think about the brutal vigilantes waiting to capture a human being, itching to throw someone in jail at best. Or about las migras who also may or may not want to help.

The balance humanitarian workers have to embrace is really deep, always being directed by what is best for the migrant and for continuing their life-saving work.

Of course, this leads us into a discussion centering around the individual “good” border patrol agent and the “bad” border patrol agent. I’ve had these kind of discussions over the years: the “good” cop; the “good” marine, the “good” prison guard, etc. I will continue this discussion in another blog because now what is super important is what is going on outside the vehicle and our conversations.

Our first stop involves another amazing elder white womon who is the caretaker at a ghost town not 3 miles from the border. She’s really a living miracle, having survived the Mormons, being married off at 11 to a 63 year old pervert, escaping at 15, being serially raped and drugged, and who knows whatelse.

I think someone she or someone should write her incredible story.

Now she’s spends her time providing humanitarian aid to refugees, dealing with border patrol, and dodging vigilante violence while welcoming tourists to the land.

She has written an interesting song called “Border Lines” – so she writes songs, sings, and plays the guitar as well. The song includes all the ways in which we draw border lines in life. Although most of our border lines don’t include armed men hunting down our ‘enemy’; and lots of borders are boundaries we need to be healthy and to pursue justice in this racist, sexist, fucked up capitalist society.

One of the stories this womon tells us about happened just the day before. A womon with a child came to this property, almost hysterical and reported she’d been stopped by four armed white men who claimed they were u.s. military, making her get out the car, show her id and papers.

She is a u.s. citizen – but a brown u.s. citizen. This incident was reported to the sheriff by the driver of our vehicle who promised he would look into it.

After forging streams, continuing to run over very rough terrain, we finally see the wall in the near distance. We also see spots where border patrol vehicles linger but no helicopter so the womyn are pretty sure they are just scouting and haven’t caught anyone.

We finally reach the wall and the incredibly steep road that runs on the u.s. side of the wall. There are over 17 (I think – could be more like 21 or 12 – the point is there are many gaps) gaps in the wall and we slow down and stop at each, calling out through the gap in Spanish in case there are people who need the backpacks we are carrying with survival items – at least the hope is that this mere smidgen of supplies will at least help people recover if not survive. There are still so many rugged desert miles between them and the next town of people who may or may not help them live for another day.

We don’t find anyone as we continue driving along the wall. This road is only a bit better than the roads we were on thru the mountains, the biggest advantage being there are no huge boulders or sudden curves that drop off into the wilderness.

At almost the very end of the road, we see tons of people huddled on either side, trying to find shade. The wall on one side provides a tiny bit of shade, and a tree on the other side provides more shade.

As we approach the people, we see there are mostly womyn and very small children standing around, hesitating, their faces hopeful yet cautious, again not knowing if we’re friend or foe.

We stop and get out, asking if they need water or food. They are relieved and begin walking over, accepting the individual bottles of water and bags of food we’re handing out.

These almost 50 people have made the trek up from Chiapas, which is the very last, most southern state in Mexico. Lots of the children are so small they're in arms or reaching high up to hold their mothers' hands. Really amazing they've made it this far

There is a man who stands out: first of all he’s tall, towering over most people, but he has what looks like an ironed, button-down blue shirt and pants, not jeans. Plus he’s older than everyone else and really older than any refugee I met – although my numbers are limited.

We hand out almost all the supplies: individual water bottles are gone so we put out six one gallon bottles spacing them strategically so folks can refill their small bottles.

We hand out all the packets of food except for a small bag. As soon as we finish, the border patrol drives up.

These are refugees who want to turn themselves in; refugees that have crossed over national borders to seek asylum; refugees that have stepped their foot on u.s. soil to attempt to break into our “legal” system. Because the migrants had asked us to, we tried to call bp but have no service. But someone else must have called because of how quickly they arrived after we got there.

They were efficiently lined up, waiting the bus that was to transport them to the processing center, hopefully to be processed and then sent on to the bus station or shelter, depending on where they are going – or whether they have somewhere to go.

So this was a great day! We were happy our timing was perfect and happy we were able to hand out supplies to people in need.

But above all, we were happy to be the ones welcoming these beautiful, hopeful, weary folks into this country. The wall as we face forward - look how far out into the distance the wall goes

The wall as we look behind

The road abruptly ends here but they used all their advanced technology to blast thru the mountain blocking the path of the wall and ended up giving up. Of course Biden can always take up the beams...

This is a sample of the guts of the mountain they had to cut thru to build the wall

Sunday, May 07, 2023

Bats over Green Valley

I arrive at the rest stop after 10 and once again, I'm thrilled at the bats swooping around gobbling up their 2000 mosquitoes or other flying insects a night. I think they're around the rest stop and especially visible around the rest stop because of the giant lights that attract them! The pics didn't turn out so great but there you have it!

Ajo, AZ

I've inadvertently left my computer behind at home and the libraries here are closed on the weekends...grrrrr

I drive to Ajo, stopping at the thrift store on the main road operated by the three local Indigenous Nations of the O'odham people and find a new (to me) pair of sandals and a filter I can use on my veg oil system. YEAH!

I proceed to one of the Samaritan/No More Deaths volunteers to unload, organize and distribute boxes of food, bags of baby clothes, diapers, and womyn's clothing along with several backpacks.

Then I'm invited to take a swim, which I gratefully do. The pool is about 40' in length and 10' wide, with no chlorine but salt and ione based purifiers! DOUBLE YEAH!

I leave before dark for Green Valley so I can join the search tomorrow morning in the desert for refugees in trouble or waiting for border patrol to be picked up and then processed as they seek asylum.

Saturday, May 06, 2023

Nigeria, Guatemala, and unaccompanied minors

Border Patrol has not shown up, even though it's been light since 5a.m. and people have been waiting since last night.

As we wait, two more people walk around the wall, down the other side of the canal to the bridge over the water, and then return on this side of the canal to where we wait

It is a womon with maybe a 7month bulge and her husband. I greet them in Spanish and english and the couple smiles wider than the old Colorado River, proclaiming they were coming from Nigeria, have been traveling for over 5 months, have worked their way from Ecuador and Colombia through the Darien Gap to Panama. Both their eyes widen as they talk about how hard it was to traverse through jungle and mountain and dangerous waters. Both look very road weary but relieved to be here, hungry and tired and thirsty.

Just after they arrive, I see four more short, very young brown people working their way around the wall, down the road, over the bridge and back down the road. They are kids, teenagers, unaccompanied minors who speak very little Spanish - at least they don't seem to understand my Spanish. They are from Guatemala and when I ask where their parents are, they say they are in Florida. One of the boys is 15, the girls are 16, and the other boy is 17. I don't think one stands taller than 4'11" at the most.

Tears and terror

Everyone calls me Grandmother - even the two men from India who demand more bananas that we don’t have but who have kissed my feet, let me know that god blesses me and asked me to say hello on the screen to their Grandmother back in India.

But it is the family from Ghana and the family from China that my heart especially breaks for. Both of them had been captured by the cartel or the Mexican police – neither of them know, but whomever, it was bad.

Both fathers have tears and terror, disbelief and shame in their eyes as they talk about how they were beaten, their wives were beaten, they were stripped of all their belongs, their money, even their shoes.

The mothers won’t look at me as we talk and I fear they were also raped. I hold the hand of “Rose” and tell her nothing is her fault, she’s safe now – although the minute I say this, I wonder if I’m lying. She weeps and tells me how the men held a gun to the head of her 10 year old daughter – TEN YEAR OLD DAUGHTER – who had never even seen a gun in her whole life.

The man from China tells me he was held somewhere in a dark and cold jail, away from the rest of his family, held for four days and nights until he could get someone from China to pay a $2000 ransom. Then he was thrown into the street, at the feet of his huddled family who had also been beaten and stripped of their belongings.

And all this after the children and the adults survived the Darien Gap.

Senegal, Ghana, Nepal, China, Columbia, Peru, Venezuela, Brazil

I get into the worn work horse of a large red pick up truck 4:15a.m. – we are getting an earlier start then we did last month, most likely because of the heat that is coming earlier and earlier.

Only one of the brothers are home and ready to go this morning, the back bench seat is loaded with plastic bags of loaves of bread, containers of baloney and another yucky lunch meat, this square and with little specks of cheese scattered thru it.

We have a large carton of cookies in boxes, a cooler of a few water bottles, two thermoses of terrible folgers coffee, another smaller cooler of mayo, mustard, sugar, jelly, and a smidgen of peanut butter. This latter – the jelly and peanut butter – is a recognition of the many vegetarians that are fleeing their countries and arriving on our border land.

We bounce down the unpaved road for a block, dash across the four lane highway onto yet another even bumpier narrow dirt road, dust kicking up around us, the front passenger seat is a deep crevice with a rag and the back of the seat can’t be leaned against as it is broken. I try to keep my balance as we head toward the horrific 30 foot wall, thru lettuce fields and around the water canals bordering both the fields and the wall.

Maybe 15 jarring minutes of rough road, we can see head and tail lights of early morning traffic on the Mexican route 2 bridge that runs along the border and over the miniature remains of the Colorado River, the current water flowing through a narrow cement canal, either side of the canal is bounded by a dirt road that is u.s. territory but beyond to the original land where the Colorado River flowed maybe a mile wide or more, now is only dried scrub brush and an occasional mesquite or palo verde tree. This half of that land is Arizona, the other half Mexico.

As we approach the break in the wall where refugees walk around to leave Mexico and touch u.s. soil, we see many people milling about. We are surprised, as most of the time we find refugees sleeping on the ground, wrapped in the blankets left there the evening before, draped over the poles of the canopy.

We turn the truck around and get out, greeting several mostly men milling about. I can see other people peering at us, not sure who we are - friend, foe or migras until Seferino begins to build a fire and I begin to greet everyone with my terrible Spanish, asking if they have hunger or thirst.

Now womyn and children rush over, along with all the other men, to huddle together around the campfire. Their eyes go wide when believe I am from the united states, after asking me many times. Equally, they ask me now and then several times as we wait for border patrol if this – pointing down to the ground – is really Estados Unidos. I reassure them as many times as they ask.

I bring out the bags of food and begin to make sandwiches. Everyone waits patiently for this food and water.

Not everyone speaks Spanish, so I talk with the refugees from the non-Spanish speaking countries and find out there are about 8 men from Senegal, a family of 3 from Ghana, four guys from Nepal, two from India, and two families from China who have 3 children between them.

The family from Ghana understands my English perfectly, but the guys from Senegal do not. The ask the father from Ghana to translate and I’m feeling like I’m back in Cuba or Mexico, speaking to people in Spanish only to have another person interpret my Spanish. This time, Mohamed repeats the English words I say and the Senegalese can understand his English but not mine…go figure! There’s a young couple from Venezuela, the womon holding her tiny bump asking me how to say “embarazada” in English. I’m not sure it’s a good idea to let just anyone know that she is pregnant. There could be the border patrol person who doesn’t want her unborn child to be born here and have u.s. citizenship as he has the power to return her immediately. But I tell her several times how to say pregnant. She can’t get the “g” sound in the middle of the n’s. So I pull out my phone and print it out for her to see. Finally, she can say pregnant properly.

The rest of the refugees are from Peru, Columbia and Brazil.

In all there are about 50 refugees. We ask them what happened to the blankets – there is no sign of them. Later someone walks over to the big dumpster there and let’s us know, there are the blankets. Plus there are lots of backpacks, clothing, shoes discarded from yesterday afternoon’s border patrol pick up. None of the humanitarian aid folks are present in the afternoon so I guess border patrol thinks they can dump blankets and possessions with impunity.

My RRB parked under the full moon before we head out to the border wall

Thursday, May 04, 2023

Full Moon

Don't I love to start a journey on the full moon! And the full moon over the ocean! YEAH!!!!

Racism at the SoCal rest stop - to be continued

Veggie Oil Blues and the Pacific Ocean

Before arriving at my veggie oil guy's place, I stop at both O'Reilly's (to get a fuel filter) and Tractor Supply (to get the pre-filter). Because I have been having to change the pre-filter every 250 miles and the main filter every 500 or so miles, I don't want his oil to go directly into my tank. It's too dirty.

He is okay with attaching the pre-filter to his hose but the oil is pumping in really slowly. The first time I have to change the filter, he's only pumped in 7 gallons. The next time, 42 gallons. But this has taken almost 3 hours. Then he discovers there's leak in his system and thinks that most of the 200 gallons has been spilled on the ground. GRRRR

At first, he wants me to come back in a week or so but I tell him impossible: I've plans but also I've a load to deliver and a pickup to make. So we agree to try again in the morning. This means I have to go somewhere to spend the night. I hate trying to find a place to stay as we're too close to L.A. and even the 24 hour gas stations that are usually good for a safe place to park want to charge $15 to park over night. And the closest rest stop on I10 is closed. But I find a rest stop on I5 that is right on the ocean! YEAH!!! That's where I'll head off to.

Wednesday, May 03, 2023

Early Morning View Outside My Camper Door

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

View outside my camper window

I've arrived just before sunset at my friend's 'homestead' in Cocise because I've spent a good part of the afternoon in the library here.

This is the sunset view outside my camper window.

And this is the sky just before sunset:

One in ten only....

I talked with a man today who actually believes people crossing the river into the u.s. are allowed to keep all their belongs & are granted 5 years during which to apply for asylum.

And he believes they can immediately begin work.

He is white, cowboy-ish with his pointed toe boots and brimmed hat, maybe 50. So I ask him when was the last time he welcomed refugees at the border. He kinda scoffs and claims he's seen the truth in a film.

I tell him his film is wrong, if not lying to him. I've been on the border in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California. He looks doubtfully at me as I pick up a plastic bag that's blowing by our feet.

I flatten it and examine it - then I tell him this bag is about 3" taller and 6" wider than the plastic bag that border patrol gives people to put all their valuables in when they are lined up, waiting to board the van to go to the 'detention' center.

Border patrol then points to the two big dumpsters along the 'wall' and instructs people to toss everything else into that dumpster: backpacks, diaper bags, extra clothes - anything that will not fit into the little clear plastic bag.

The guy, Robert, looks at me with such disbelief until I pull up the pictures of the plastic bag I have on my phone.

More misinformation: asylum seekers can't work for the first 6 months they are here and only ONE in TEN will eventually be sucessful in their bid for asylum. The other nine will be returned to their countries of origin or dumped into Mexico, no matter how dangerous it is for them or their family.

He then points to two small clouds gathering overhead and tells me they are full of chemicals and if I watch them long enough, they will dissipate and send chemicals down on us.

He's a 'government is trying to control us, take away our guns, and leave us vulnerable to the cartel'. Plus everyone is blaming white men now - he feels it.

I ask him where he lives and I'm not thrilled to know it's Cochise - I don't want to run into him there when I make my delivery.

I want him to know that he has mis-information about refugees. He lives he on the border. He has guns. He is white and male. I will not get into his white man pity-party while I'm trying to touch some kind of compassion he might have.

So I tell him I have to leave but I really want him to know the truth about people crossing the border and how we are treating them. I tell him again that I've been there, on both sides of the border and he can believe me.

Oh well, on to Cochise

I'll never cross over again...

I make popcorn, heat up soup, grab a kombucha and head toward Cochise and my delivery from the Bay.

I spend the night at one of my very favorite rest stops along I10 in Arizona, the Texas Canyon rest stop.

I walk along the fence at the far boundary of the rest area, saddened to see both the fence and the barbed wire running along the top of the fence. Are they really trying to keep out refugees or why? Why a fence and why barbed-wire.

I used to stop here frequently when you could hike along a trail going up into the rocks and back down again.

Now there's a very narrow and small cement path paralleling the fence. I see a snagged piece of material on the barbed-wire as I aim my camera up to take a picture of the fading moon. I capture a hawk gliding or maybe a vulture as I wonder if this horrid barbed-wire captured a person’s clothes.

A light-skinned man who has a trace Spanish accent is waiting for me outside the restrooms. He wants to talk but he also warns me that everything we are saying can be heard.

He wants to know what kind of christian I am and when I say I’m not, he says he’s not either. He tells me about his recent experiences trying to re-cross the border into the u.s. He declares with so much hurt in his eyes, that he was born in this country and has lived in Los Angeles all his life. And yet, these past couple years border patrol has made it so difficult to cross back over, he feels like a criminal, like they are telling him he doesn’t belong.

His eyes flash with anger and then hopelessness, as he proclaims he will never, ever try to cross over anymore.

My heart goes out to him as I think about those people trying to come here that don’t have papers and how they are treated.

Monday, April 10, 2023

Driving search for distressed humans - to be continued...

We meet in a huge parking lot at a recreation center to start our journey though the desert and along the wall in order to see if we can find any refugees in distress.

Not only is the terrain so very unforgiving here but people have to travel miles north before they can connect with the nearest inhabitants. Often the first u.s.ofa. people they meet will not help them at all or might even shoot them - although not providing water for people is a death sentence and a very painful death as well.

Before we head out, we check the bags that are made up: there should be water, a little bag of non-perishable food, a drinking straw (I forget the name of it but it doesn't really purify the desert water holes but it takes out the bacteria), clean socks, a phone charger battery (we used these in Yuma also) - I think that's it.

There are four of us - three tasked with searching the land on either side of the vehicle, one with driving. Two of us are newbies, the other two experienced.

The dark brown line on the left of this picture is the fuckin 'wall'