With the social impact work I do and the things I have seen in Africa, and briefly in South America, I sometimes feel a sense of guilt about my life in America. Not guilty for being an American, but rather how, given my life of privilege, I simply cannot “get” or understand how rough so many other people have it. I ran across an article in one of my favorite magazines, Outside Magazine, one of the very few I make time to read occasionally. Hard to have much time to read when you are trying to positively impact the world, right?
That said, this article is an absolutely eye-opening look into what hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of ordinary people simply looking for a “better life” (which often means simply not being killed) will do to have it. According to the UN there are some 65 million people that have been forced from their homes around the world. Worst crisis ever and gives a new meaning to the term “homeless.”
Turns out the courageous writer of the article made this journey into a documentary for an Australian news program. I don’t have much time for watching videos but THIS is one of the most compelling videos I’ve ever watched. The raw human drama of the extraordinary efforts made by 20 “migrants” or “refugee hopefuls” is absolutely riveting, exciting, and heart-breaking all at once. The personification of the innate human desire we ALL have to be safe, to be productive, to be happy, is beautifully encapsulated in this 25 minute documentary. Click to watch the video here.
My team and I will use this film to help always remember the journey so many refugees and immigrants make to get here to the USA. They are here now and we will help them make the most of their lives here, one person at a time.
I know that all Americans, indeed all residents of the developed world, who maybe like me, simply can’t appreciate the freedoms and comforts that come so easily simply by virtue of having the “right” passport, will benefit from hearing and learning from the absolute guts and deep determination displayed by these brave migrants. Guts and determination are two characteristics you can never have too much of.
I love the final few paragraphs of the story because they so eloquently capture the situation and beautifully express my feelings on the topic as well:
Some ugly myths have taken root in the United States that these same people are predisposed to be criminals, a dormant threat to national security and gathering drag on our economy. In a country built by migrants, currents of nativism and xenophobia are on the rise, with bluster of walls going up and mass deportations. And somehow people of all stripes keep angling for our faraway borders with their dreams intact, risks and distances be damned.
Inevitably, through sheer force of will and a lot of good luck, some of the ones stranded in Turbo will make it to Panama and on to the United States. Maybe they’ll be spared the onerous jungle crossing; maybe they will get a berth on an airlift; or maybe they are bushwhacking a new route through the Darién Gap at this very moment, their feet and gazes in lockstep forward against the inertia of fear and cynicism, driven by visions of something better.
They are our past, present, and future. And they are worthy.
Watch the video and then work with us somehow to make the world better by helping those you can help. Everyone can help someone.