Tuesday, March 19, 2019

McAllen March 2019 #3

So we ventured out!

Starting by looking for the Native cemetery, where ancestors of the Carrizo Comecrudo tribe are buried. The wall would cut right through the cemetery and some of the tribe have set up camp and are expecting reinforcements, perhaps from the Dakotas. We didn't find it.

We did find ourselves on a sort of dike right next to the Wildlife refuge so we followed it...to and along the river. Just heavy vegetation, no wall. As we circled back, we were stopped by Border Patrol, which did not surprise us in the least, though we wonder if there are fixed cameras or drones being used.

We pleaded innocent, of course, said we'd gotten lost trying to find the Wildlife refuge, and the agent laughed and said of course and go back this way and turn right blah blah.

and then ended up returning to McAllen.

The next day we headed east and south to a place called La Posada Providencia, which is a similar facility but longer term. They take people who don't have family members easily accessible and help them until a sponsor or relative or friend can help. So the people typically stay a bit longer there. They have a dorm (trailer) for men, one for women, one with offices. A small building for English classes and offices, a kitchen, a playground. It's fairly remote. My friend loved the tranquility; I felt like it was too remote and too quiet--we didn't see any PEOPLE moving around!

Then we continued to Alamo where we visited ARISE, whose members sometimes volunteer with us. They are more of a resource source but they also will take the things we can't use--shorts, sleeveless tops, and so on. These are distributed for free to "las colonias", sort of neighborhoods of mixed documented/undocumented folks, all of whom are living in poverty.

On our way back we found the cemetery! And the camp! And chatted with the chief and a native anthropologist, quite illuminating. Asked about their wish list and their gofundme account and then came back.

This morning we went to Lowe's for a chain saw and a mini-fridge (they have a generator for electricity) and to a grocery store--the chief wanted blood pressure medicine so we got hibiscus tea, bananas and oranges, seeds, nuts, and berries. Those are all natural remedies for thigh blood pressure.

But when we delivered it everyone was either gone or sleeping....so we left the stuff and headed back to McAllen to wander downtown and shop for small gifts, have Mexican food for lunch, visit the bus station, and so on, We drove by the old respite center and were surprised to see refugees getting off a bus and filing in. Turns out they got 800 yesterday at the new place and are using the old place to house folks until their busses leave. So there were some 75 people inside who will simply wait until tomorrow for their busses, be fed, and sleep on mats.

I was told another 800 are expected today.,,..so after taking Lisa to the airport for her flight, I may go back to the center. I extended my stay here by a few days so will have to do laundry tonight--there are machines here at the hotel.  So it's quiet now but will get busy around 3.

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