North Carolina Newspapers

    Harsh Reality of Juarez, Mexico
By: Dan Ott
We stopped Monday afternoon at a
newly constructed lookout on the outskirts of
town. After reaching the top of a winding,
steep, one-lane, guardrail-less road, we collec
tively gasped at the view. Juarez, Mexico has
a unique beauty. We could see miles across the
desert valley encircled by craggy, brown moun
tains. But when we had climbed out of the van
and found our way to the edge of the metal
terrace, I gasped again. Directly below and for
miles again, I saw nothing but poverty: one-
room cement block dwellings, narrow and worn
dirt roads, garbage in the streets, stray dogs
and pet chickens. While a Spring Break trip to
Juarez was my ‘bright idea,’ I must admit that
I was not fully prepared for the lack and need
that we found there.
Our host, Jaime, explained that this
city of two million was composed, in no small
part, of people who had come north in hopes
of crossing into the United States. Their ef
forts thwarted and their resources depleted, they
end up squatting in Juarez, often never finding
their way to the ‘promised land’ or back home.
Make no mistake - these people are not without
hope and certainly not without pride. Many of
them are ambitious people who are more than
willing to work hard for a living. AJl of them
are resourceful and resilient people who face
daily challenges the likes of which we comfort
able, first-world people can hardly imagine
The work that we did during the week
was modest. We helped to build a security
wall in the back of the family center where
we stayed. The facility had been burglarized
a couple of weeks before our arrival (I guess
we were part of the security force for the week
too.). We also sanded and painted some chairs
and tables for use in the day care run through
the family center.
More importantly, we had our eyes
opened. We learned about Mexican culture
We toured a piflata factory (a two-room, family-
run production), experienced the Juarez market,
and took in a show of Mexican folk music and
dancing. Josue, Jaime, Pastor Felipe and our
other gracious hosts probably taught us much
more, though. We had wide-ranging discus
sions, shared meals together, and worked side
by side. These experiences gave us understand
ing far greater than any tour could.
We also learned about border issues.
We took a trip to the Rio Bravo (barely a trickle
really). There we saw a stunning display of
U.S. power and resources. Our small band of
naive Americans and one fully visa-ed Mexican
guide drew the attention first of a security cam
era looming high in the sky, then an SUV that
seemed to position itself to speed toward us.
and finally a fully armed helicopter that came
close enough for us to exchange (perhaps less
than earnest) waves of greeting. Jaime gave us
some of the history of the re-channeling of the
Rio Grande to the Franklin Canal that provides
additional security if one were to escape the
cameras, the SUV, the barbed fence and the he
licopter He also relayed some sad anecdotes of
would-be-immigrants, who had drowned in that
canal, dehydrated in the desert outside Juarez,
or otherwise met their demise in pursuit of their
dreams. Dreams constituted mostly of the mere
escape of desperate poverty.
Since our return. I’ve been asked sev
eral times, “How was your break? What’d you
do?” When 1 answer that I went to Mexico, the
response is usually something like, “Oh wow!,”
or “You lucky so and so..I usually grimace
inside at this, remembering the harsh reality that
we encountered in Juarez. But I’m beginning
to realize that those of us on the trip were and
are truly lucky. We are lucky to have the op
portunity to understand some of the sources of
poverty and ways in which U.S. policies affect
our neighbors to the south. We are lucky to
have the opportunity to do some small part to
help improve things for a few of our neighbors.
We are lucky to have met and come to know
some very proud, resourceful, hopeful and lov
ing people. Viva Juarez. Viva Mexico.
Former President Campaigns for His Wife
From: Staff Reports
An estimated 1,800 gathered on DeT-
amble Terrace of St. Andrews
Presbyterian College to hear former President
Bill Clinton campaign on behalf of his wife.
Sen.Hillary Clinton, who is running for Presi
“I am delighted to be here,” said Clin
ton. “Dr. Hopkins, I want to thank you for wel
coming me here and your Student Government
President Perry Morris for welcoming me here.
“My Scotch-Irish ancestors would be proud of
me being at St. Andrews Presbyterian College
today,” he continued.
President Clinton acknowledged the sad
history of the day marking the 40th anniversary
of Dr.Martin Luther King Jr.’s death, remember
ing his time as a senior at Georgetown Univer
sity listening to the speech of Robert Kennedy
in Indianapolis announcing the death and the
riots that followed in cities around the country.
“We need to make a commitment on this
day that equal opportunity for all will be real in
our lifetime,” he said.
Mr. Clinton outlined several of the rea
sons that he believes Sen. Clinton will make the
best President, pausing to acknowledge a sign
held up in support of Sen. Barack Obama. “It’s
okay you can hold up your sign,” he said from
the podium. “I don’t blame you for trying to get
your message out on our dime. Now you decide
whether I’m right or he is. That’s what the elec
tion is about.”
“Hillary’s got a lifetime record of
change and I believe she would be the best chief
which is what the Constitution says the presi
dent is,” he said. “She is the best person I know
for looking at a problem and recognizing what
changes need to be made to make the situation
Mr. Clinton shared a question he asked
his wife early on the campaign trail about what
would make her feel that she had done a good
job after her presidency was over.
“She said there are three things,” he
said. “One is if Americans are better off when
I quit than when I started. Second, if the young
people have a brighter future when I quit than
when I started. Third is if our country and this
world is coming together instead of pulling
Former President Clinton. Photo courtesy of Rooney
Mr. Clinton ended the appearance by
shaking hands, posing for photos and signing
This is the first known visit by a former
President to Scotland County.
Five New Titles Arrive at St. Andrews Press
Five new titles have joined the collec
tion of the St. Andrews Presbyterian College
“This spring we’ve published two stu
dent chapbooks. The Cairn, Gravity Hill and the
latest work of Joe Ingle,” said Press Editor
Molly McCaffrey. “They arrived April 5 and
will be on sale from the press for the remainder
of the academic year.”
The student chapbooks are Miles by
Caitlin Johnson and t(here) by Margaret Mason
The pair earned the publication through
the Alan Bunn Memorial Chapbook competi
Writers Jim Reiss and John Williamson,
a St. Andrews alumnus, served as judges for
this year’s competition. As part of the agree
ment, both judges wrote blurbs for the winning
books. .
Reiss, whose work has appeared in The
New Yorker and The New Republic, said,
Johnson’s Miles was “truly original” and has
the “elliptical power of a writer like Stewart
O’Nan and the drop-dead emotional intensity of
someone like David Foster Wallace.”
Reiss said that Tate “focuses on her
materia poetica with laser-beam intensity” and
“has read canonical poets carefully, and she’s a
redoubtable ironist and imagist” as evidenced
From; Staff Reports
by her work t(here).
Miles is available for $6 while t(here) is
$10. The Cairn is the small press literary maga
zine and the continuing legacy of the
internationally recognized St. Andrews Review.
Edited this year by Tom Heffeman, visiting
professor of English, with student editor John
son assisting, the publication includes works
submitted throughout the year by a variety of
poets and short fiction writers. It is available
this year for $8.
Gravity Hill is the student literary
magazine, comprised of the works of students,
faculty and staff members. Kimberly Neal is the
student editor for the piece named in honor of
the Scotland County landmark of lore. David
Bell, assistant professor of creative writing, is
the advisor of the magazine. Cost to purchase
this collection is $5.
Joe Ingle’s Rock the Boat is a single
chapter memoir about his time at St. Andrews
It is a part of a larger memoir. Beauty and Mad
ness: Growing Up Southern being prepared for
publication. A North Carolina native, Ingle cur
rently resides in Nashville, Tenn., with his wife
and daughter. He received a bachelor’s degree
from St. Andrews before graduating from Union
Theological seminary in New York City. While
living in East Harlem, he visited the Bronx
House of Detention, beginning a lifelong com
mitment to prison ministry. He became ordained
as a United Church of Christ minister and has
worked with prison populations throughout the
region. Much of his creative material reflects
this life of ministry to the condemned. Rock the
Boat is available for $10.
Two additional works, by Marlon Carey
and Jean Jones, are in production and should be
released before the end of the academic year.
SAPC NEWS..........2-3
ifELLNESS...... 4
SPOETS.......... 5

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