How the other half lives
My father served in the Marines in World War II, Korea and later in Vietnam. We moved around a lot until we settled in Colorado.
During one of my father’s stints in Vietnam, we went to live with my mother’s family in Bolivia.
My aunt lived in a big compound with a gated entrance. Her husband was the son of a very wealthy man. Across the street was a vast shantytown. My uncle’s mother was an Indigenous woman who lived in a thatched-roof hut with dirt floors.
I was quite young, but I became aware of the indifference the wealthy can have to those in extreme poverty. The callousness. The name calling. It left a big impression on me.
Wanting the same things
As I got older, I continued to travel. I attended Antioch College in Ohio, which had a cooperative travel program. I did internships in Mississippi, Atlanta, Oregon and New York. When I graduated I moved to Japan to teach English.
Through all of that traveling, I observed some commonalities about human beings. Everybody loves where they come from. We think America is number one, but everyone feels where they live or come from is number one. They love their homes, their religions, and their take on the world.
People around the world want the same things. They want healthy food and clean water and to be with their families and to work hard.
There’s no superiority among peoples — only differences. Our life in Littleton is easy and can be very beautiful, but I wouldn’t say it’s better. We have more resources and we’re very lucky in many ways.
‘The world isn’t just a hostile place’
I’ve just been approved to become a host home for Casa de Paz, a nonprofit. I’ll be offering spare rooms in my home to asylum seekers and immigrants who have been released from the ICE detention facility in Aurora. Their claims have been processed, they’ve seen a judge, and they’ve been ordered released — but often they need help reaching their destinations.
These are people who are fleeing violence or hardship in their home countries. My children have moved out, so I’m able to provide a locking door, a warm shower and a soft bed while they get on their feet and move forward.
They can sit in my backyard and watch the birds and butterflies and know the world isn’t just a hostile place.
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