No one said building a peace encampment was going to be easy. And this week, Nell Elperin will find out just how much work it can be. On a 51-acre plot of land in Seneca, N.Y., Mrs. Elperin and perhaps 40 other women, most of them half her age (she is a grandmother), will build shelters, move latrines, dig firepits, set up special facilities for the disabled, and stake out land for children and men.
They have until the end of the weekend to finish. That's when the Women's Encampment for a Future of Peace and Justice is scheduled to open.
Provided the land meets the health standards - and the women are confident it will - anywhere from 100 to several hundred women with sleeping bags, tents, backpacking stoves, biodegradable soap, and other necessities, will arrive July 4 at the plot of land next to the Seneca Army Depot.
The depot is widely thought to store parts for nuclear-tipped cruise and Pershing II missiles due to be shipped to five West European countries beginning this December.
The group's $37,000 piece of property - with only $4,000 left to be paid off - is 11/2 miles from the main gate, and its back boundary sprawls next to the depot. From there the women will hold a round-the-clock vigil through Labor Day.