Wed. Feb 5th, Advancing to Gila Bend

Dear All, Wow! What a day! You never know what you will encounter when you are relying on the generosity of others for your food and housing. The practice of relying on the generosity of others manifests in accepting the answer that is given, for example if someone declines to help me I thank them for listening or for considering my request. It is also a practice of receiving what is given. It is a practice of discernment of what I need and what I want. And it is the practice of sharing the opportunity with others to give. Today was centered around this practice of relying on the generosity of others.
A very good man named Juan gave me a ride from the Dateland Travel Center to Gila Bend. Juan spoke very little English and I speak very little Spanish. But we were able to communicate a lot about ourselves on the ride from Dateland to Gila Bend. Juan was born in the Sonoran Desert on the Mexico side of the border. He and his wife raised 4 great kids 3 boys and 1 daughter…
After Juan and I parted ways I started to look to take care of my immediate needs, first, a restroom. I stopped in at the McDonald’s. After I took my pack off someone hollered to me from across the room, “I saw you on the news.” I went over and she and her husband invited me to sit with them. They had many questions about Jada, bone marrow donation and the Steps To-Marrow 3 walk. They bought lunch for me and we visited for quite a while.
Having used the restroom and had a filling lunch I turned my attention to finding a safe place to sleep for the night. I walked all the way down the main street, Pima Street, going west to east. I stopped at hotels and churches mostly. It was Wed afternoon so no one was at the churches and all of the hotels turned down my request for a room. But the desk clerk at the last hotel told me that the food bank at The Church at Gila Bend opens up after 3. She also said that they will sometimes pay for folks to stay in one of the hotels for the night. So I slung my backpack up over my shoulders again and walked back down Pima Street, this time going east to west.
I was fortunate that The Church at Gila Bend was still open when I got there. A very kind person named Linda phoned the right people and pretty soon I was dropped off at a very run down hotel back to the east again on Pima Street. I hadn’t stopped at this particular hotel on my first trip down Pima Street because it looked a bit seedy. But here I was receiving the gift of one night at the Payless Inn. The desk clerk hidden behind a thick glass shield was used to dealing with Paul from The Church at Gila Bend. He helped me get settled. The room was saturated with the thick lingering odor of cigarette butts. It looked relatively clean and I could take a shower. I took off my boots,put on my sandals, and prepared for a shower. I noticed a bite on my ankle. “Umm, fleas.” I wondered. Following the shower I got bites not only on my ankles but also on my wrists and soon I saw a flea jump across my field of vision after a little baby chomp into my neck. That did it for me. I quickly packed up, locked the door to room 16 crossed the courtyard and slid my key under the thick glass shield at the counter in the office.
“Ok, Jeana, it is dark outside, after 8:00 pm and you have no place to stay. What are you going to do?” The best option that I could see was to walk to one of the all night gas stations. As I headed to the gas stations at the west end of town I noticed that there were folks at The Church at Gila Bend. I stopped by to let them know that though I appreciated the room I was not going to be able to stay there. It turns out that on Wednesday nights they have Bible study. They had finished Bible study and were visiting on their way out. After I explained about the fleas everyone looked around from one to the other not sure what to do next. Then my trail angel Linda spoke up. “Come with me.” She said. She loaded me, my backpack and another guest, David Smith into her 2001 Pathfinder, Nissan and drove me to a building that she is remodeling. There she gave me a mattress and a safe place to sleep for the night.

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