Wednesday, May 23, 2007

In

This morning we were walking to the office and I said 'beats rush hour eh?' there were kids running alongside us holding our hands, goats meandering in the road, and ladies with bundles of sticks on their heads walking by. We just had our breakfast at UNHCR where we eat every meal. It overlooks the most amazing view I have ever seen. The light here is amazing-there is something to be said for twelve hours of sunshine per day-my nails and hair grow like crazy here!
Last weekend was the first flight out for this group of refugees.



It was a very emotional day to see the people we have been preparing for life in the US actually getting on the plane and leaving. They are so hopeful and innocent-I know it is a better life but we still cant help but worry for them.



We will send some pictures-there were dancers and drummers





and the local villagers who look worse off than the refugees. The kids are literally wearing rags.

It is the same airstrip where we picked Reed up. Literally in the middle of nowhere the plane just appears in the distance and pops down on the airstrip which has to be cleared of cattle before landing.
It is great to have Reed here to share this with. We will try to take video of our jogging along with a pack of squealing little kids who chase us and want to hold hands and touch knuckles. They scream 'Mizungu' and come racing out of the bushes. The other day I was nearly gored by a herd of longhorn cattle while I was jogging! It was a close one but they veered at the last second-I felt like a bullrunner in Spain. We are still waiting for construction to be finished on our houses and offices so meanwhile we live in the guesthouse with other staff. It's like college-we all work together, eat together. This weekend we went to two UNHCR parties so that was fun to meet other people doig the same work form all over the world. Most staff is African with some Europeans.
Better run.

My work load is terrifically light. I supervise the staff teachihg the orientation classes five days per week in the mornings out in the camp since I am not teachinhg I have lots of down time. But I am going to get some extra classes going for women and youth.
Hope everyone is well-miss you and love you all.

Ann

1 comment:

Danny O'Neal said...

Thank you guys for everything you are doing to help our desperate inhabitants. People like you are this planet's greatest hope.

Meanwhile, I had one of the greatest weekends of my life racing the mountainbike leg of the Ski to Sea race. I can't wait to do it again next year and if you guys happen to be in the states, you have to participate. It is a total rush.

Remember, there are 7 legs (find it on Ski to Sea Bellingham & you can see photos and results, we're team #279, Page 20 the name..my photo made it onto page 17! Dave only made page 22. Victory is complete). Dave and Porsche started the canoe leg with Mom and Dad watching. They had watched the leaders leave about 1.5 hours earlier and as they left the two teammates didn't even speak as they climbed into the boats and started paddling in a perfect straight line. When Dave started their leg the canoe immediately turns to the right on Dave's first two paddles..they try to correct and the canoe quickly turns back in the other direction toward the center of the river momentarily pointing downriver. As they continue meandering Dad starts running along the bank, shouting "Go straight! You guys are crooked! Go straight! You have to work together!" and assorted other helpful hints. Porsche waits until out of earshot, "Jeez, we just got in the canoe. Can he cut us a break?"

David tells the story of seeing one canoe basically wrapped around a deadhead, the former occupants 25 and 80 yards downriver on the bank. Didn't look like there was an easy way out (a 20 ft dirt cliff above both) but they appeared to be out of danger and he could see people above them coming to help. Later, they were coming toward the end of their leg where I awaited, with another canoe hot on their tail. They made a slight move to the left and David looked into the water and saw a huge boulder they had just barely missed hitting by pure luck. A moment later he hear's the unmistakable clonk of the canoe behind him hitting it followed by "aaaauuuggghhhh!" Porsche, who's in front says, "Did they fall in?" David, "I don't know, I'm not looking. Salt and pepper baby, salt and pepper. Don't look back."

There's a wrist band with a microchip of some sort that each racer passes over a detector that keeps the times for the race and hands it off to their teammate who begins the next leg. It costs $80 if you lose it and automatic disqualification. As Dave & Porsche climb out of the river I'm helping them carry the boat to the finish line of their leg and ask Porsche for the chip. She finds it in the bottom of canoe. David had just thrown it in there when they started their leg 2 1/2 hours ago! He caught a lot of grief from the team for that..especially since Rocky & I had a bet they were going to be swamped somewhere during their leg of the race (not an uncommon occurance for first-timers).

I hit the dirt road with Dad handing off the bike to me and was passing bikers right and left. This provided lots of extra fuel. At several points we have to dismount and carry/push our bikes under bridges. Under one bridge I find myself behind this fellow and hear his cell phone ring. He ANSWERS IT! Couldn't believe it. "Hello." Running/carrying bike. "I'm in the middle of the race right now, I'll call you back." I say, "Boy, you must be pretty committed to your job." And he says, "No, that was my teammate!" We both start laughing about the inanity of his teammate. Right then we bust out of the bushes and hop on our bikes only to find ourselves in a muddy track. He goes right, I survey while pedalling and avoid the nasty looking right side going left. He comes to a stop in the middle of the mud pond and as I pass, "Look what they did to me!" You can actually see this fellow on the same page as me, he's in the orange shirt (3 photos with him in it).

Shortly thereafter, some dude passes me like he's on a Sunday bike ride. Cheerfully says the dreaded 'on your left' and blows by me. (Not the guy directly behind me in the photo..I had recently just passed him and we traded leads a couple times before he finally folded beneath my superior will.) I look at the interlopers legs and feel somewhat better because they are beyond chiselled. But I'm peddalling my ass off even more thru all the chest & abdomen pains and it's killing me that he doesn't even seem to be trying. He's sitting straight up and just pedalling away non-chalantly and pulling away. As long as I can see him I entertain the notion that I can actually catch him which, of course, is folly and only serves to intensify my discomfort. It doesn't help that I can see him a long way because we are on pavement now and it is long and straight. Finally the black dot fades into the trees or something and I can focus on my next hapless victim in red up ahead. I'm back... Ironlungs Inc a dim memory (that's the team the guy was from).

Anyway, we miss you guys lots. And thanks again.
Love always,
Dannyo