Tuesday, January 22, 2019

MLK Jr Day at Respite Center

  tall couple lol

and wow....just wow. We started the morning with a group of university student volunteers, Univ of TX Rio Grande Valley. They were amazing, eager to help, easy to teach, looking for ways to help. Sometimes new volunteers are a mixed blessing because they don't know what to do but with this group, we were able to basically assign them areas, show them the process, and leave them knowing they'd do a great job.

It totally freed me up to be a trouble shooter, looking for areas of need/priority and moving resources around.

In the afternoon we had a high school group that was just about as helpful. We had about 2 hours to get them sorted and trained before ICE dropped off some 300 asylum seekers, all needing registration/help, clean clothes, showers, food, clinic, etc.

And it was especially nice that in both groups there were multiple Spanish speakers. Some of our older Anglo volunteers are great but don't speak Spanish, so we try to put a Spanish speaker in each room or center. Our volunteers yesterday made that easy.

I was quite annoyed, though, by ICE. OK, 300 people, but ALL AT ONCE? We had bus after bus pull up. Why can't they space them out a bit, like 100 this hour, 100 next hour, and so on? It would make for a much smoother and less chaotic process for all of us, refugee and worker alike.

Still, MLK Jr Day was a good day and we managed to get done what we needed to get done. I was there 10 hours....and didn't feel tired until I left.

When I spend a fair amount of time in a place, I tend to leave a bit of my heart behind, and carry a bit of the place home with me. As of today, I have left part of my heart in Colombia, Mexico, Florida, and now McAllen. And that means I will carry home with me part of Colombia, Mexico, Florida, and McAllen. There's an older English expression, merry-go-sorry, when you feel both happy and sad. That's apt for today.

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