Committe in Solidarity with the Central American People
By Jessie Wofsy
When the volunteers of the 1997 Work-a-thon woke up on May 31 to the familiar sound of Eugene drizzle, you can only imagine what ran through their minds. No, it was not "They won't miss me, I am horrible in the garden anyway". It was more along the lines of "Ha, Ha, if I don't let global neoliberal economic dominance get me down, how could a little rain keep me from playing my part? Quick, hand me my rake!" With this enthusiasm around three dozen volunteers met at the WOW hall early Saturday morning for check in and pre-work instructions. Well, it was really after the coffee, various items to nosh on, and the abrupt exit by those who thought they were at the UofO's Nike day, that all signs of grogginess disappeared and the group settled in to hear about the three major aid recipients of this year's Work-a-thon.
The FAT (Frente Autentico de Trabajo) is a Mexican coalition of progressive unions, farmworkers, cooperatives, and community groups working to establish alternative unions to those offered within the corrupt union structure of the PRI government. In Guatemala, Mujeres en Solidaridad is a women's rights group that educates women working in the maquila garment sector about ways they can fight for just working conditions. Finally, MAM (Melida Anaya Montes Women's Movement) is doing similar work in El Salvador, continually working towards the goal of effective union organizing for women in the Maquila workforce. With that, the groups split up into cars and headed towards the site of the Work-a-Thon, Grassroots Garden. Grassroots Garden is a volunteer driven project of Food for Lane County created to alleviate hunger in our community by providing organic produce. When we arrived we were funneled into various jobs around the garden ranging from weeding to a project of building tomato cages. One option was to plant trees, an opportunity that I and many of my neighbors jumped on immediately. For about two hours straight we dug, planted, and covered a wide range of baby fruit trees, as well as planted seeds for squash, pumpkins, and a bunch of other fruits.
Lunch time was a success thanks to a great spread of food, friendly conversations, and the on-site playground. Once we got back to work, my group was in charge of weeding, and aside from the accidental sacrifice of a few healthy vegetable plants, overall it was the weeds that we got rid of. Despite a few mud-slinging trouble makers, we managed to finish the rest of the day off, completing around 120 hours of work. Our goal for the Work-a-thon was to raise $2000 and so far $1700+ has come into the office. With the high cost of expenses, around $400, it is really important to send in your remaining pledges. If you are not sure if someone who pledged you has paid yet, you can call the office at 485-8633 (the guys we hired to break the knees of non-paying pledgers don't start until after the July 4th weekend, so you still have time). Thank you to everyone who was involved in the Work-a-thon in any way, it was a great success.
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