Friday, February 15, 2019

McAllen Feb #3

and I begin with gratitude....that this work doesn't feel like work at all. That I have enough resources to come here and do this. That I make myself laugh when I empty my pockets and find hair ties, chapstick, shoelaces, paper and pen, a $5 bill, breath mints.

I also laughed when I asked a young man "Ud me ayudo con los cepillos antes?" and he says "No English".....um probably my Spanish was failing or perhaps he merely assumed I'd be speaking English. I look too damn Anglo.

Yesterday, my birthday, and it started with mild chiding/corrections from two bosses....went to lunch and when I came back was told I should have said I was going to lunch (I did) because a bus came early and no volunteers were there. The bosses, I discover, don't seem to communicate. No doubt time is an issue--who has time for meetings? But to be scolded for doing what one said while another says something different, well, that seems unfair. But I am letting these things go. That is just how it goes when you are constantly trying to meet so many varied needs.

We were sorely missing volunteers yesterday. I went earlier than usual and worked nonstop. I am nothing special but if I could have cloned myself....another 6 pairs of hands would have kept us on the brink but not actually drowning. Yesterday we were drowning, with no one to help with women's clothes; the guy in men's clothes put jeans and pants on the shelves without respect to size; the woman in kids' clothes was upset with me for not helping her; the jefes (bosses) routinely took off to help folks, leaving the front desk unstaffed.

I filled in at the front desk and at other times was all over the center...so many needs and I could hear Jesus from Superstar saying "there's too many of you!". I just did my best....and hope it was helpful.
And remind myself, when hubris threatens, that the place manages to function when I am not there. No one is irreplaceable. I just hope I am adding value....

And I remember...mid-morning when the refugees grabbed brooms and  mops to clean the center. When a couple of young men pestered me for jobs to do. When folks were grateful to receive diapers, clothes, ibuprofen, answers, sweaters, a smile and touch, a sincere "how are you doing?". I am looking forward to another day.

And I picked up a tray of cookies to send to the Greyhound workers at the bus station. Yes, it is their job but they do so much good work for our refugees! That work should be recognized.

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