I looked into the PayPal account for funds coming in to help Elena get an apartment to accommodate her children when they make it to the United States, and found that $1500 had come in. That’s without my checking the mailbox, which I’ll do on Monday.

Thank you very, very much for this help.

We are having our first official Zen Peacemaker Order program in a long while this weekend, keeping me busy, so Jimena came by this morning and picked up some $1,425 and we talked a little about the future. For now, we agree that I need to build up the reserve somewhat in order to continue with both food cards and special cash assistance.

The Fourth of July is coming up, and Latino families celebrate it like there’s no tomorrow. Picnics, barbecues ,and jaunts to parks, pools, and lake. Lake Wyola is 10 minutes’ drive for me, and sometimes I go swimming there at 5 in late afternoon when most of the families have gone home for supper. Not these families. They bring food and music and several families stay there with the children into evening. They know how to party.

I’m not much of a partier, so I love it when others do it for me. I used to envy people, wish I was like this person who knows how to party, or that person who knows how to have more fun, or that person who really knows how to relax, or that person who knows how to build organizations and community, or another person WHO KNOWS TECHNOLOGY.

But I haven’t felt like that for a long time. They’re doing it for me, I don’t have to do it all. I can leave it to them to bring to the world and life things I can’t, just as I bring into the world and into life whatever I can. Perhaps that’s what we mean when we say that we’re doing something for all beings.

I have learned a lot from the families I’ve worked with, and especially about their very powerful family links. They’re ready to leave their families and travel far away, cross borders, take ridiculous risks, and what happens if and when they finally make it to their destination? They live squeezed together in crowded apartments and try to find jobs at salaries most Americans would never accept: farm work, dishwashers or cleaners in restaurants, maybe even the lowest-paying jobs in supermarkets.

Because of them, we get basic goods and services for relatively low prices. And they do all that in order to send money home to support the family they left behind because that family has way less than they do now, though they’ve hardly made it to the first rung in American society.

Green River Zen sits right above a farm. I’ve gone there in very hot days when the sun beats down and watched Haitians working the fields. The farmer who owns the fields finds it cheaper to fly Haitians into America, provide them with living accommodations, and fly them back at the end of the season than to hire Americans.

“Nobody from around here wants these jobs,” he says. Of course, he didn’t specify what wages he was offering.

Too many Americans don’t have a clue about the depth of poverty in other countries. They take for granted food assistance, welfare payments, free public schooling and low-cost housing projects. There’s a lot to say about the huge discrepancy between rich and poor here, and I want to write about it next week,  but this is still way more than what other people have. As I wrote yesterday, we have our poor, but how many go to foreign countries to send money here? How many won’t see their children, spouses and families for years, and maybe never, just so that they could send money home?

I am so grateful for WhatsApp, which enables them to be in touch for free so that they could talk to their children, listen to what happened in school, what’s happening with covid, who’s sick.

I remember being with Jimena one day when a handsome young man, some 18 or 19 years old,  whom I never saw before, came over and talked to her in a low voice. He had just arrived and needed help with food. We had run out of cards and promised help for next week. But what was more urgent for him was to find a job, any job. His mother was sick back home and he had to send her money so that she could get medications.

In covid times, people had no money not just to get medical treatment but to bury their dead. Ask me where I really learn about family ties and sacrifice, and I’ll tell you it’s here, in these families. Or with Saint Swapna, the Indian woman who takes care of my mother.

If life doesn’t give them what they need, they do without. They don’t complain, they don’t gripe against God or the universe, in fact they can barely meet my eyes when they tell me what is happening to them.

When I was in Israel we got a call from Swapna, this time not about our mother but about her. She had a terrible toothache, had had it for several days, and finally gave up and called us. I’m  glad to say that the three of us siblings headed out there right away, and while my sister got on the phone to find a dentist and stayed to take care of my mother, my brother and I took Swapna to a dental office next to the big shopping mall in Jerusalem. Swapna had met us at the door and didn’t have the strength to hide the pain as she usually did, tears just streamed down her cheek.

“Why didn’t you say anything earlier, why did you wait so long?”

But that’s a rhetorical question for Swapna. She’s used to waiting things out, hoping they’ll go away, not wanting to trouble.

I went with her into the dentist’s office to help with language. The dentist was a kind Jewish Russian woman. She saw right away that Swapna had lost a tooth, but the root was still there and had gotten infected. She took it out, and then looked through Swapna’s entire mouth. She pointed out about 3-4 other places where teeth were either cracked or missing, two areas requiring root canal work, one or two teeth needing crowns, and cavities galore.

“Have you gotten dental care?” I asked Swapna.

She shrugged.

“Do you want to get this work done?” I asked her. Money would be no object. She shrugged again. Both questions were rhetorical, as far as she was concerned. Dental care was an off-planet luxury for her. A tooth got sick so that was the end of it; she was used to losing them. The best she could hope for would be to get relief from crippling pain if and when it hit her, as it had those days.

She’s a beautiful woman with thin shoulders that go up and down when encountering things beyond her life experience. Dental care is one of them.

You can also send a check to: Eve Marko, POB 174, Montague, MA 01351. Please write on the memo line whether this is in support or immigrant families or of my blog. Thank you.