Monday, June 30, 2008

we have arrived in mcallen - our last american stop


7:40 pm mcallen texas, our final american destination

click here to see photos of the journey to mcallen from san antonio, the first evening, and the first day of a four day orientation.

there are about 100 of us, gathered in this church gymnasium. the youngest is seven, the oldest - who knows. there are lots of introductions - the ones on the little yellow school bus hunger strike of 1993, the veterans, the newbies, the europeans, the chicanos, the canadians, the drivers, the mechanics, the employees, the representatives from each state. much clapping and whooping and hollering.

we left san antonio in the early afternoon, after a service this morning much like philosophy 101. lots of dead white guys - socrates, plato, aristotle, david hume, immanuel kant, and some newer ones i haven't heard about. the was no mention of god, though, it was mostly a celebration of the earth and her beauty, and final line of each stanza in one song went something like 'some call it evolution, and some call it god.' thankfully, we weren't called upon to worshop a patriarch in the form of god, but we did hear a lot about the ancient patriarchs whose philosophical beliefs have shaped the world we live in.

the premise was morality - how various thinkers through the ages have diagnosed humanity's relation to morals and ethics. it was interesting but, from where i sat, would have been even more interesting if the perspective of at least one woman were considered. at the end of the lecture the speaker asked for questions so i put up my hand, thanked them and told them about all the wonderful unitarians we've met across the nation. then i asked if there are any women philosophers that we can draw upon. some in the audience laughed. the speaker said that women haven't, traditionally, been educated and/or they've been too busy looking after hearth and home to be philosophers. i thanked him for his response.

however .... just because women haven't been educated in the way men have been 'educated,' doesn't mean they can't be considered philosophers. women have met at the river, babies and baskets of laundry in their arms, and hours to spend there talking about their lives, and the village, and the problems therein, and if that's not considered a discussion of morality then i don't know what is. that's just one thing i would have liked to have said to the nice man who didn't ask us to worship his idea of god.

hazel and i have just signed up for the fourth day of cooking. katie is also willing to help us, we discussed it on the bus on the way here.

monday, june 30th, mcallen texas

didn't sleep much last night. nita, in the next bed, managed to cough just as i was dropping off to sleep. after about the third time of being jolted awake, i put a pillow overtop of my head hoping that, in addition to the earplugs, would save me. it was sweltering hot, but i was drifting off ......

no luck. her ability to cough at precisely the moment of my departure into sleepy mode is uncanny. i grabbed one of the full length cushiony things and a sheet, and moved into the next room where jim was sleeping on a cot alone. the cushiony thing on the floor was quite comfortable, i tried not to think of cockroaches or spiders, and luckily i awoke when the door to the bathroom slammed and just as jim was walking directly towards me, otherwise he would have stepped right on me.

it's not a lot of fun spending a long day with little sleep, but fortunately there's plenty of good food and the air conditioning isn't overwhelming in the church and i've joined the media committee which is right up my alley - though intermittent wifi, accessibly only from across the courtyard, offers an interesting challenge.

it's very cool suddenly being one caravanista from one bus among so many others. there are crews working to organize the aid, painting the buses, repairing the buses, contributing to food creation and/or clean up, writing press releases. on thursday we will attempt to cross, telling the american government that we are on side with the united nations who has declared this blockade illegal on several occasions. we haven't yet begun to strategize that procedure, it's something i look forward to.