Saturday, July 5, 2008

Week 4 (Rachel)

I heard a story the other day. It was a story Gandhi liked to tell.

Once upon a time, there was a town along side a river. One day a man went down to the river and was startled to see a baby floating atop the water. He quickly rushed to save the child that was near its death. The next day he found a home for the orphan. Yet to his horror, the following day there were several infants floating down the river again! He rounded up helpers to grab the children from the cold river. The infants continued to come throughout the week. Realizing that this was a serious problem, the town devised a complex plan to gather the abandoned children and locate adoption families. Years passed and the town continued to save the babies as they floated down the river. Yet no one ever bothered to travel upriver to see why the babies were being discarded. No one went to the root of the problem.

This weekend we camped out in the desert with No More Deaths. We went out on patrols with the other volunteers, dropping off water and food along the migrant trails, always on the lookout for anyone in need of our help. Four patrols went by and we found no one.

I turned to one of the summer volunteers and asked how they can stand it. How can you stand those days when your efforts seem fruitless? I hiked for only a weekend and I was frustrated. Their answer was that No More Deaths is like a temporary solution, a band-aid on a much deeper wound. They are catching the babies as they float down the river, headed toward their death. But most of all they are trying to realize a change in the system.

Don’t you think we wish we didn’t have to be out here? But if we didn’t do this…who would? Our government is refusing to take action to prevent the death toll which is now in the THOUSANDS! In fact, it has intentionally pushed the desperate migrant into the harsh desert in hopes of deterring crossing. But this “natural barrier” will not halt the man determined to feed his family. Thousands are crossing every week. We call No More Deaths a “civil initiative” in that the action begins at the grassroots, and hopefully will soon influence Washington to make a policy change. We hope that one day this tent won’t be out here. We hope that one day the people of the United States will go to the root of the problem. We hope that one day they will look to see why the infants are being discarded upriver. Do the American people know why this migration is taking place? Do they understand it? Do they even bother? No. Right now we are trying desperately to catch all those that are within our reach, but it is difficult, we certainly fall short. We need to get to the root of the problem. We must get to the root of the problem before it’s too late.

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