Thursday, April 18, 2019

McAllen April #3, in which I start complaining to BP...

Well, there was a big media event today...60 Minutes? Not sure. Shortly after I arrived, 730 this morning, Eli mentioned it and set me to helping clean things up, which meant grabbing a couple of refugees and getting help taking garbage to the dumpster, cardboard to the recycle, and a slew of plastic bins to a little known storage area. Which I have been there long enough to know about....

No one was allowed into the front part of the building until 9. The crew arrived around 830 to set up. One guy asked what it would typically look like and then said Good, We like chaos in the background.

As people were allowed to move, there was plenty to do. I did get volunteers into the adult clothing and kid clothing rooms, and a couple more to help prepare the welcome bags with toiletries. Was quite pleased with myself. Mostly ignored the journalists. Sadly, around 1030 or 11 I discovered that the volunteers had left the adult room, the door was unlocked, and over a dozen people were looking for clean clothes. Unfortunately they rushed, competed, and threw clothes they didn't want on the floor. So all the organizing we had done yesterday and in the morning was wasted. I was upset and chided them....and told others still waiting that we now couldn't open the room for another hour at least, probably more like 2. And I explained why. I feel a little bad now. I hope they didn't feel bad about upsetting me. Still, it was a rotten way to behave.

We had a big bus arrive around 10 in the morning so I expect the journalists saw as much chaos as they wanted. But it quieted down a bit so I left for a bit and picked up cold waters on the way back. We had additional help come so we did get the clothing rooms set up and could reopen them.

At one point in the morning--evidently this was a BIG deal, because McAllen cops were there for security--I spoke to a woman in a skirt and blouse, and began to complain about Border Patrol. Was saved by her saying cheerfully Well, I am from BP! What can we do better? I suggested they stop sending us busses of people while we are trying to get yesterday's people on their way and that noonish would be a whole lot better, She said this situation of apprehending and detaining has been going on since 2014, and that they apprehend 1100 per day. Since I know the centers are overcrowded, and they send us at least 400 per day (usually more), I am guessing that this is just in our local area, not all along the border. Really hard to imagine the entire long border....

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