Thursday, June 26, 2008

here we go 'round the bless-ed mulberry tree

for photos of this blog entry, click here

june 25th, between las vegas and prescott arizona

this morning john, our trusty bus driver, realized that the trunk of the bus (the boot, as hazel would say) was about to fall out. i was just arriving at laurie's house, with katie and hazel - we'd spent the night at marion's - two couches and a bed, in three separate rooms. a bit of peace and quiet, privacy, and a comfortable space. heaven! (it occurs to me that none of us can escape the necessity of sleep, no matter how 'powerful' we may think we are). our journey to pheonix, via prescott where we are to pick up aid, was going to be rather delayed. it's going to be another looooonnnnnngggg day.

laurie fed us well - vegan waffles (hurray!), and the others had those, plus scrambled eggs and yoghurt. we were late getting on the road, and our first stop was at a unitarian friend's home in boulder city where we were greeted by a man and his father who had put willingly aside their plans for the day in order to help us. they'd set out some pitchers of ice water, cookies, and crackers for us, and we variously practiced yoga, wrote, chatted, slept, and re-organized the bus (thanks jim!) while a large flat of plywood was shaped and bolted into place in the back of our faithful bus.

we were there for hours, in their happy back yard shaded by a wonderful mulberry tree. during the course of it helen, the family matriarch, offered me some orange juice for my cold. luckily i've brought along some 'greens' powder, and i enjoyed a short burst of energy in between some rather hallucinatory sleeping moments (the vision of a native woman was most inspiring). we learned that helen and her husband are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary, and their family is travelling to town for a celebration. her other son joined the crew working on the bus and by the time they were finished we had a 'better than new' boot (according to john), and a power air supply (a half plastic waste-basket bolted off the radiator).

this has been our third stop with unitarians -- previously we met folks in bremerton washington, and pocotello idaho. they're really very wonderful. as one guy put it last night, 'we have no creed'. they've got all the good qualities of spiritual folk - they're helpful, concerned about their neighbours, charitable - but they're not preachy and they don't pretend to know everything.

we've got to stop and pick up aid in prescott, then make it to pheonix tonight. there's no event planned, fortunately, but we're going to be hungry and tired travellers landing on someone's doorstep late tonight.

morning in pheonix arizona - june 26th

we arrived really late - i think it was around 2 am. lovely theresa had prepared and saved a huge amount of food for us, including some beans and rice which i was thankful for. she's going to be meeting us in mcallen and riding with us across the border and on to cuba.

yesterday was a very difficult day for me. i was torn between wanting to fly home to my own safe quiet space, with my local friendly healers (herbalists, homeopaths, etc) nearby, and pressing on to cuba where i will likely also find the sort of help i'd like to have, to combat this rather nasty cold/flu bug.

i slept through most of yesterday. i thought i was going to die. i heard some of the others joking about how they were going to divide up all my stuff after i'm gone. i'd like to go see a health practitioner, but the health care coverage i bought before i left canada doesn't cover the sort of help i'd like to seek. a herbalist would be my preference, so i could get a mixture of earth born creations that have been studied and tested through hundreds of thousands of years. all i'm covered for here is likely to result in anti-biotics, and i hate those.

i'm feeling a bit better today, so far, but last night was scary -- we stopped along the way to pick up more aid (quite a bit of it, lots of computers, and walkers, crutches, and a hospital lift - ironically helping advance health care on a small island nation while 47 million people in the usa are without health care) and while the others were busy loading boxes of aid, i was wrapped in my sleeping bag crashed out in a hammock in someone's back yard. i felt really bad that i wasn't able to offer much help, but i was shivering, thirsty, hungry, tired, and would have loved to have some miso soup, toast, and a cup of tea. we hadn't eaten much yesterday and it was already dark, a long day of driving after the morning spent in the wonderful shaded back yard in boulder city. i didn't even have the energy to get into my backpack and find some of my food stash (which didn't include miso soup) and i didn't want to ask the people whose house we were at because it was late and i got the feeling they didn't want my germs around. the thought crossed my mind that i don't really know these people, i don't know what they've really got in those boxes, and i'm really just running on faith that there's nothing that will harm the cuban people. they were very helpful to john, who sliced his hand open on something or other. he's an american who doesn't have health care, he figures he should probably get stitches but who can afford those. he's hoping the would will heal itself without getting infected.

i suppose americans have a different attitude towards health care than in nations like canada and britain where we take trips to emergency for granted. i'm pretty sure that pretty much anywhere in canada, if a person showed up in the state i was in, they would be coddled and taken care of and nursed back to health as much as possible. because we canadians (and british) have lived with the philosophy that everyone is entitled to health care we're not so afraid, perhaps, of being ill or of caring for sick people. here i feel more like a leper - my guess is that people don't want to touch you, or nurse you back to health, or offer any form of assistance because they're afraid of 'catching it' themselves and being victims of their own disgraceful non-existent health care. plus, there's that ridiculous every person for themselves bull crap, so different from the sense of community and caring that i've heard is fundamental to cuban society.

april 26, bedtime, at ann's in silver city new mexico

again, the unitarians have proven to be among the most wonderful people in the world. after our biggest event yet, and a correspondingly sized potluck, i'm getting ready for bed in my own little room. i had a hot bath, was provided some nice eucalyptus/menthol chest rub stuff called white flower, and am now going to hit the hay. i'm starting to feel human again! the other caravanistas are happily dispersed in various households around town. tomorrow we drive to el paso, not nearly as much driving as we've been averaging lately.