So, I just returned late last night from a tiring weekend at Displace Me in Austin.
I would write a narrative of my experience, but fortunately, a Houston Chronicle reporter ended up camping out with Jessica and I, and his writing is much better than mine!
Invisible Children is this organization trying to help children who have been displaced because of war. They’re putting together an event called Displace Me in which participants leave their homes for a day to live in a cardboard box.
Right now, I’m in Austin, where the sun is hot and people have been arriving since about 3 in the afternoon. The field is strewn with huts made from cardboard boxes that people have been building all day. Not one looks the same; some are as big as tents, others are like round fortresses; some have windows and vented roofs. I guess what it says is that even faced with the most basic of tools, humans always make the most of it.
I’m crashing with Heather Bordeaux, a 29-year-old former architecture student from Houston. She has built one of the most impressive box homes in the field. Bordeaux is here, she says, because “people need to take action; because we are the most powerful country in the world.”
I had my doubts about something this. How can you possibly simulate a displacement camp when the nearest threat of war is thousands of miles away in Iraq? But it’s 5:23 as I write this, two hours into it, and the sun is pounding. My mouth is dry. Before each participant came in, they turned in their water and saltine crackers. In a displacement camp, refugees are only allowed rations. Same here. Participants won’t get water ’til after six.