Life, Death, and In-Between on the U.S.-Mexico Border

Life, Death, and In-Between on the U.S.-Mexico Border

Life, Death, and In-Between on the U.S.-Mexico Border

Life, Death, and In-Between on the U.S.-Mexico Border

Synopsis

Loustaunau and Sanchez-Bane combine their many years of association and collaboration dealing with health issues of the U.S.-Mexico border area, to bring together a series of chapters illustrating that asi es la vida, "that's life," need not indicate a fatalistic acceptance that poverty, sickness, misery, and misfortune must be taken in stride. Focusing on specific problems of employment, education, drug addiction, violence, healthcare and women's issues, the chapters in this book encourage greater understanding of the U.S.-Mexico border. The contributors have researched, studied, worked with, or have been borderlanders themselves.

Excerpt

Health is created where people live, love, play, and work. That is the way health promotion professionals see the challenge before them. It is also how they promote empowerment, with a basic understanding that to a large degree people are in charge of their own health. But such concepts as empowerment, not to say health promotion, are very much determined themselves by where people live and work. They are also very much culturally determined, particularly in their application.

In the world there are few places like the U.S.-Mexico border. With close to 200 countries and self-governing territories, there are many borders in the world, and there are longer borders. There are older borders, and on the different continents there are many examples of internal border lines and processes. Even when, formally speaking, there is no border as such, many of those are zones of conflict, while, as we all know, peace is the first prerequisite for health.

The U.S.-Mexico border remains very much a border, even if one dividing two of the largest and most complex countries in the world. It derives its specificity from its history, its demography, its economics, its political and social processes. B. M. Jones in Health Seekers in the Southwest (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1967) describes, for example, how individuals in the past century fled disease-infested urban developments in the East to look for a healthier environment on the U.S.-Mexico border. Tuberculosis was just one such prevalent condition for which the border and its arid, dry highlands were thought to provide respite, if not cure.

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