[By Lala Rosella Palazzolo]
I have taken 3.5 million steps to get halfway across the country. My feet have taken a beating………cracks in my heels, a plethora of blisters, and tender soles. My skin has become scaly, sun burnt and dry despite the heavy amounts of sunscreen and lotion I apply. My hair is dried out, sun bleached and fried. I’ve lost weight, I’m constantly tired and I miss my bed. I’m sick and tired of peanut/almond butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch and the same old granola for breakfast. It’s hot and humid as hell in this Nebraska heat. I’m constantly inhaling toxic exhaust fumes from the trucks and cars that pass me by on the road, let alone the pesticide spray from the many cornfields we walk along side of. Most of the time I can’t sleep due to some random train laying on the horn and blaring out that its carrying butt-loads of fracked oil 100 tankers long. I haven’t been able to talk to my kids or my mama as much as I want…………..no phone, no service, and no Internet reception.
I’m drowning in sadness from hearing story after story of communities that are suffering due to their regions particular concerns………droughts, floods, fracking industry, polluted and contaminated water systems, continuous mining of uranium on the pueblos and on and on and on. I have put my life on the back burner……….. left my home, my job, and my family. I have no money coming in and am dependent on others to provide for me, something I hate. I’m sick to my stomach from the stench of cow manure from the acres upon acres of feedlots we’ve passed along Nebraska’s highways. I haven’t had a shower in days so my body gets sticky at night from the days sweat when I sleep. I’m having a problem contributing to a community system that caters to dysfunction and non-transparency. I’ve wrestled with the “leadership” role in our community and do not subscribe to it in the least. I get constipated very easily when I stress out about camp, but have also dealt with diarrhea so many times I can’t count. I suppose you’re wondering, “Geez Lala, if it’s that bad, why are you still there?” Well, truth is, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else, doing anything else, with anyone else.