I started volunteering at an organization called “Street Safe New Mexico” a couple weeks ago. I think that I needed to channel my energy into something. I think because I feel so helpless to do anything to help further the solving of Patty’s cold case, I picked volunteering as some sort of compensation.
Wednesday night we had a weapon making party. I learned how to make Diamond Fists, a weapon used in self defense the organization makes itself. We made them from scratch, melting pieces of plastic cut from milk cartons using electric grills. We then used cookie cutters shaped a bit like a trident to cut the hot plastic. After that, we drilled a hole in them so that they could be hung from a string or a key chain.
The second half of the night, we worked on making homemade pepper spray. This photo is of Christine Barber explaining to us, a group of volunteers, exactly how to mix the ingredients to make the substance correctly. It was dirt cheap to assemble, the materials consisting of cayenne and alcohol. I have to hand it to Christine, it was also a superior product in a lot of ways compared to its store bought counter part.
When I left the shop where we’d worked, I felt a sense of well being much like I’ve felt after meditating for long periods. I think it was partly because I finally got a chance to work on something that directly addressed the “safe” part of the organization’s mission. Sure it felt good to oversee some of the other projects like handing out condoms and clothing, but this project felt more like my natural volunteering home. I am always willing to do whatever it is that needs to be done for the organization, but I must admit, it gave me an extra boost knowing I might be contributing to helping a woman get out of harm’s way.
I listened over the course of the night to the volunteers asking how they could help even more. One wanted to come out of pocket to purchase some ever popular condoms, and yet another, a medical student, enquired about the status of a program to check women for STDs that’s been on hold. The help we at Street Safe can provide is never enough seemed to me to be the underlying sentiment of the volunteers. I don’t know exactly what I’ll end up doing for the organization, but I too believe that whatever it is, it isn’t going to be enough. I want to use some corny aphorism here, like Rome wasn’t built in a day, but I’m not sure it’d apply. There is no finishing this sort of job. There is only chipping away at the list of things that need to be done, and calling it good.