by Greg Bloom
On November 5, David Chizum, age 57, will set out alone to travel the entire length of the US-Mexico border. Beginning on the California coast in the Tijuana-San Diego area, Chizum will follow the exact borderline on foot until he reaches Ojinaga, Chihuahua. From there he will proceed in canoe down the Rio Grande until he reaches the Gulf of Mexico.
Chizum, a retired US-government employee, decided to make the trip because he believes, "there should also be good news coming from the border." Chizum is calling his endeavor the US-Mexico Border Friendship Expedition, 2001-2002, and believes that it is all the more important because of the events of September 11 which have caused the border to look like a national problem. Previously, Chizum was quite encouraged by the immigration and border dialogue that had been taking place at meetings between Presidents Fox and Bush. Chizum believes that over time, the US-Mexico border should come to be more like the US-Canada border.
While Chizum had hoped to find sponsors for his trip he could not find companies or people to help him. Thus there will be no laptop computer and satellite phone to connect him to family, friends and the media. Instead, Chizum will occasionally stay with friends or acquaintances along the way and may contact the media at those times.
Chizum is taking some cold-weather gear with him as he knows to expect temperatures with wind chill as low as zero degrees Fahrenheit when he is walking in the desert near Yuma, Arizona. He expects his biggest worry to be getting enough water along the way.
Chizum has made some previous border crossings into Mexico and has found those experiences to be "100% positive." While he speaks some Spanish, Chizum has a small dictionary he will carry with him and he hopes to learn more Spanish over the course of his trip.
Although Chizum has yet to alert US or Mexican authorities to his plan he said that he will announce himself at all of the border crossings that he comes to throughout his months on the border.