Sunday, November 8, 2009
El Paso,an International City- November 8
I thought it a bit strange yesterday that a border patrol car was in the Veteran's Day Parade in a small Hispanic town close to the border(see picture here). I wondered whether the townspeople looked on the border patrol as a friendly necessary presence-or whether their attitude toward them was more of hostility. I have a picture here of the barrier fence on the American side which we saw yesterday in the wetlands park. The tour books which we have read tout El Paso as a friendly welcoming international town. That side of the issue we saw today as we toured the Golden Horseshoe shopping district in downtown El Paso. In fact when we started walking the streets of this area we thought we had mistakenly crossed the border! The shop names were in Spanish,and that was the primary language we heard around us. A couple of blocks from this shopping district was the border crossing and Mexicans were flowing into this area and back out again laden with full shopping bags. A lot of merchandise was sitting outside the shops on the sidewalks,and most items were very inexpensive. We had another different cultural experience this morning at New Hope Lutheran Church church. The Watoto Children's Choir from Uganda sang for the service. These children represent a few of the 500 million orphans in Africa who have lost their parents mainly because of HIV/Aids or from wars. They were fortunate to have been taken off the streets by the Watoto Children's Villages. They were fed,loved,given a home and schooling(public school is not free in Uganda). It was inspiring to see those happy faces and bright eyes as the choir sang:"I am not forgotten,God knows my name..Jesus you are life and hope to me,my friend like no other-you lift me up and hold me close.." The whole day's experience brought home to me how we as Americans have a responsibility to lend a hand to those who have not had the blessings we have experienced.