Time has cured many of my right wing tendencies, but I grew up in the panhandle of Texas. You're brought up going fo 'self. Helping out Mexico? Really? C'mon. We got our own problems. And most of our problems are because of them. Just keep them out. That's the Texas way. Build a huge ass fence by a river and just dare them to cross.
Here's a few facts. In Juarez, guns are illegal. With guns being illegal, where do you think they're getting them? Bingo. Estados Unidos. In fact, they make really good trade bait for drogas. Yep. Cocaine. Heroin. Marijuana. It's Mexico's biggest export and we're their biggest client. We're locked into a long-term relationship with Mexico where one societal ill feeds another. We allow them quicker kills and, well, their love is mutual. They ship a million more drug habits into the States a week. Do the knowledge, kid.
Also, in Mexico, public education runs out at the young age of 12. Then you gotta pay for it. So what happens when you're a young tike in a family of seven and your parents make only $110 combined weekly? Think you're going to get secondary education? Nah. You learn how to say your ABCs, subtraction and how to wipe your butt and then you're sent to fend for yourself. That's a sixth grade education. How much did you know when you left sixth grade? Maybe you knew the rules to kick ball. That was probably about it.
And, while the druglords are no longer ruling the streets, it's federales...about ten deep in the back of a Humvee with AK47s slung over their shoulder...and they look no older than 18 most of them. The border crossing was an absolute bummer. They made us unload our entire trailer and open up everything so they could see all of our possessions. It took about an hour thirty to make into the country. Then, you drive around Juarez and you think this is what you're protecting?
Really, Juarez is about as harsh of elements as you'll find. Not only is the poverty widespread and clearly indiscriminate, it's much worse than the States. Our poverty line is still supported by a number of government programs. In fact, the poverty line still affords minimal urban living--walls, air conditioning, a furnace, hot water. That "poverty" in Juarez is like middle class.
We helped a family of seven. Two adults raising five kids...two of which were dumped on them by the mother's sister as she fled town. She's raising them in a house no bigger than a single-stall garage made out of pallets, corrugated cardboard and computer boxes. You could see sunlight through the walls, the floor was dirt and it was built, basically, amidst a junkyard. Rabid dogs ruled the land. That and the relentless sunlight. The weather was cooler, but one could only imagine what the summers are like in that desert land. With only an annual rainfall of nine inches and wind like you can't imagine.
I met a young kid named Francisco. The lone boy in the bunch. He was a spirited kid, but obviously lacking options and experience. He'd mount a horse, beat the crap out of it, the chase a dog or a chicken. He was just rotting away on this land. It's a harsh reality. I can't even imagine waking up every morning to it. No mobility. No job. No change. No connection to the outside world. I brought with me a futbol americana (the more oval-shaped football), but he wasn't so interested. He wanted to play futbol. The round kind. I gave it my best. You could tell he was so eager for stimulation. Made me think about how sometimes I yearn to not have stimulation. I like just doing nothing...well, doing nothing but running. But that's how I get away now. I run from stimulation. Here this kid's out there with me kicking a futbol back and forth like he's been waiting years for someone to come and do this with him.
We built the house quickly. We actual slowed down to make it last and to spend more time with the family. It was all adults because no one wants to send their kids to Juarez anymore. Better for productivity, though. Learned how to make stucco. Not sure what kinda market there is, but think that if the music industry implodes and everything's free, I can always stucco houses.
Met some nice folks for Casas por Cristo. Good organization. Good folks. Whaddup, Brandon. Whaddup, El Tigre.
On the third day, the mother made us "pork." Turns out it was really goat. It was goodness, though. Spicier than the nutsack on a habenero, but it was good.
We left for the border on Monday morning. Never been so happy to be in El Paso. Amazing that, just a half mile north, it's a third world country. It's like night and day. Not only do mission trips to Juarez benefit the participant on a spiritual level, but there's a number of social and political questions that rise to the surface from such a trip. Is our neighbor Juarez also our enemy? Do we help our enemy or just let them suffer on their own just next door? I wonder if the crime rate in El Paso would be where it was if that was, say, Vancouver on the other side. Funny how we waited close to an hour and a half going into Mexico as they checked everything we were bringing in yet to the north, you can barely break speed crossing the Canadian border.
Juarez needs help. That's all I'll say. Don't know who reading this will take action, but guess there's no harm in just saying it.
Jackson hurt his back left leg. Not sure doing what. I think he was trying to dunk on an 8-foot rim and had adviced him that he wasn't gonna land it. Anyhow, confining a beagle to a "crate-like" atmosphere is proving to be challenging. Not because he's trying to escape, but he just tries to sadden you into action.
Tucker, however, is just a bundle of joy. Really because he's too stupid to know any better. That's why I like him.
I sold that Juarez experience really short. Mainly because I'm tired and need to go to bed. I hate going so long without posting, but broham's busy living. Hope you are too. My nephew Parker's celebrating his big number two next weekend. He's the bestest. And he's a big 2Pac fan. In fact, dude's more than a fan.
Friday, homie. Tomorrow, I'll run 14 miles and then pack back some serious Sharkey's burritos, then a nap, then some Texas Tech football as they'll knock off the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
I miss all of you.