THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
From My Window
Issue Date: April 11, 2019
By Jane Thibodeau Martin,
I enjoy many parts of the Peshtigo Times but one of my favorites has become Jerry Harpt's travel column. He is one of the travelers I wish to become " he doesn't just take the picture and go back to his car. He digs deep, gets the history, learns, meets the people. And through his column, he takes us along with him. This morning, as I read his column from April 3, he ruined my breakfast, for which I do thank him.
That column, if you missed it, is about his hellish trip to a dump in the Central American country of Nicaragua. As part of a Christian medical mission, he was able to absorb the truly horrific conditions of fellow human beings, living in this dump, a life few of us can comprehend. People, including kids, dug in garbage to find something to eat or a piece of plastic to cover themselves at night.
I had spent a large part of the day before caring for animals in a shelter waiting for a new home " sad, but they have everything these humans lack " a dry and temperature controlled place to live, clean water, plenty of food, a towel to lie on, medical care if they need it, and human helpers who walk them and love on them. Sometimes we get numb to the sad things we get continually exposed to on the internet or evening news. Jerry's account " via well-chosen words, in the normally "safe spot" of my hometown newspaper, opened a fresh sorrow in my heart. This is not "fake news," these people " toddlers, children, hopeless adults; would probably consider my animal shelter a paradise.
I am exposed to so much criticism of those fleeing Central America - words stereotyping them all as criminals " it was jarring to be forced to remember I have no idea of the life many of them are fleeing. Ask yourself why anyone would try to walk from this area with their children to the border of the United States " read the column, and if you are a parent, you can't help but feel compassion.
We need border security. We need immigration law updates. There are many ideas of what exactly those terms should mean. But while these discussions continue, I needed this jarring reminder that these are people, our human brothers and sisters, deserving of basic human dignity. Why those children were fated to be born there and I was blessed not to be, although I am no better than they are, is one of life's unfathomable mysteries. Jerry, thank you for making this trip, and thank you for my much needed wake-up call. It is my commitment to pray for these people " people just like me.
Also thank you to reader Mary T. for her charming and hilarious letter about getting lost in Coleman. It is good to know I am not alone.
You can reach me for commentary, alternative viewpoints or ideas at this e-mail address: JanieTMartin@gmail.com.