|Hemmingford in Quebec
My friend R lives with her 85-year-old mother just north of the northern edge of New York State, a bit west of Vermont. R and I first met in the Pacific Northwest in 2000, where we'd both participated in a multi-week program for trainers and consultants sponsored by an environmental foundation. We'd reconnected six years ago (thanks Facebook!). Recently, in an unfortunate twist of events, she was preparing to depart for a gig as a vegetarian chef for a meditation center in France when she was diagnosed with uterine cancer and underwent surgery. After a few radiotherapy treatments, she'll be under follow-up; it wasn't aggressive cancer.
Here she was, in Quebec for the summer for the first time since she was a child, recovering. Their small house was the original border crossing station, with an impressive, ancient barn in the back. The next day, on a rainy morning, we took a walk down Roxham Road. "It's famous.", R said. In the first months after Trump's inauguration, hundreds of people crossed the ditch into Canada less than a kilometer from her house.
|Where the border is a ditch. Photo: CBC.ca
It was WorldRefugee Day on the day that I drove the long road back to Maine. The radio stated facts and statistics of transitions. The U.N. Refugee Commission states that there were 65 million people forcibly displaced in 2016, setting a world record. Most of them were from Syria. This fantastic and colorful interactive map shows the flow of asylum seekers but does not include illegal migrants.
As I again traveled through the back roads of northern New England's beleaguered rural communities, I considered the forces of war, famine, and fear that would propel a migration. War, famine, and poverty that would propel,, a family of four to abandon their homes and stay in a refugee camp. The largest cluster of which, in Dadaab, Kenya, supports over 500,000 people largely from Somalia. Another camp in Uganda, Bidi Bidi, now has 274,000 residents from South Sudan. Approximately 2,800 people a day arrived in the month of March alone.
|Photo Credit: Wall Street Journal