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Giving thanks for the kindness of strangers…

26 November 2009

“Thanks” to the draconian border security regulations in the United States  what used to be temporary “undocumented workers” (who would return home after earning enough to start a business or build a house, or buy their mother a cow) cannot risk crossing back and forth between Mexico and the United States with any regularity.

And “thanks” to the collapse of Mexican agriculture post-NAFTA, many of these workers had no choice but to work in the United States.

While “thanks” to those two related situations, there is MORE, not less “illegal immigrants” in the United States (unable to see their families and adequately provide for them from a distance, the families have to move to the United States), there are millions of people cut off and isolated from their families and communities.

This is where “tiredandretired” comes in.  We were neighbors at one point in Mexico City, but never met in person, knowing each other only by our “noms de internet” on expat and tourism message boards.  “Tiredandretired” is living now in an unnamed, isolated Mexican community (he has a Mexican family, and happily settled here).

The subject in this particular thread was dangers to foreign travelers, but tiredandretired’s comments were meant to show that foreigners aren’t in any particular danger (which is true), but more importantly, they show there are a few of us out there who strive not to be “ugly Americans” and who — in their own way — and with respect for the Mexican peoples and cultures — give thanks for their two-nations identity. And should be thanked:

I have a strange hobby. I communicate with ‘workers’ in the north by Internet, and at times they ask me to take pictures of family here in small villages and send to them. And, most of the time they send me photos, which I get printed when I visit Sam’s Club in Tehuacan. All free.

One woman had not been home in 18 years, and no pictures had been exchanged in that time. Her mom had never seen a picture of her grandchildren.

Another… 13 years.

A man has three sons in Wisconsin, 15 years, and they have a 15 year old brother they had never seen a picture of. A friend told me they got really emotional when they saw that first picture.

Others are lesser times.

In the past, for my safety, my wife and cousin accompanied me on these expeditions. This spring, she went home, and he was busy, and I said to myself, “The Irish are supposed to die young! I am going by myself! Viva Mexico!”

I actually encountered far less resistance and fear alone than with Mexican companions. Even when I encountered women alone in fields, they approached the car with a smile.

The only explanation I can give is the grapevine has spread what I am doing, and like I am the only one in a 750 square mile area, so they may well know who I am by the fact I am North American.

I have 67 years of experience to know it is NOT my incredibly handsome face and form. Heh, heh.

Nah, people just know enough to give thanks for favors rendered.

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