Monday, October 17, 2011

Capitol Lakes Retirement Center book discussions

Last summer people began asking me if at Capitol Lakes we were going to participate again in the UW Go Big Read. We had a great time a year ago discussing "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks," and some of us heard author Rebecca Skloot speak in the Kohl Center. We're involved again, thanks to the WAA's loan of multiple copies of "Enrique's Journey" and the support of the Capitol Lakes staff.

Our book discussions are currently underway. Each discussion is facilitated by a recently retired member of the UW-Madison faculty or academic staff. During the discussion I facilitated a couple of weeks ago, I asked readers to name one of the things that astonished them while they were reading "Enrique's Journey." They quickly listed quite a few surprises, such as: 1) Enrique's anger after he and his mother reunited; 2) astonishing facts about young migrants and immigrants who are never in the news; 3) the bias of some Mexicans toward Central Americans; 4) the material poverty of Lourdes' and Enrique's lives in Honduras; 5) the ongoing benevolence of Veracruz villagers; 6) that some migrants with employment in the U.S. send so much of their earnings back to their families; and 7) the vivid account of crossing the Rio Grande.

We talked about where hope can be discovered midst the bleak, shocking account of Enrique's odyssey. That was easy. It's in the amazing generosity of the "food throwers" in Veracruz.

One of our readers was an expert on trains, and so he described what it would be like to ride on top of any train or in a boxcar. He explained that while a train was traveling forward @ 80 mph, there would be simultaneous side-to-side rocking and wind. There would be other dangers, too, such as hanging on whenever the train navigated curves and also when the car tops and sides were slippery.

We wondered it will ever become possible to ameliorate the economies south of the U.S. border so people won't have an extreme economic need to leave their families and cultures.

Perhaps one of the most astonishing comments during this discussion was made by a woman who said she surprised herself after reading "Enrique's Journey" by completely changing her mind about migrants and immigrants. As a result of reading this book she's now passionate about doing whatever is possible to help migrants and immigrants make their way once they're in the U.S.

Someone just phoned to ask me if there are plans to hear author Sonia Nazario speak at Union South. Yes, absolutely! We're part of the UW Go Big Read!

Ginny Moore Kruse,
Resident Coordinator of the UW Go Big Read at Capitol Lakes Wellness and Retirement Community in Downtown Madison

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