Another stateside visitor was Anna, whom I hadn’t seen since we were teenagers together in Colombia. After almost 50 years apart, we hardly recognized each other, but with our first embrace, it was like old times again. Valiant Anna, who still remembered Spanish, joined me on a medical brigade to La Ceiba, where a child’s father admired her beautiful blue eyes and begged her to marry him despite being already married, a rather minor detail.
On a side trip, Anna and I passed by some spikey pineapple fields en route to a mountaintop resort, Pico Bonito, where wild monkeys and toucans chattered overhead, then visited a Garífuna fishing village called Sambo Creek, and ended up eating at a Ceiba watering hole called Expatriates’ Bar. Next day, at a butterfly farm set among fragrant-blossomed orange trees, a crested lizard darted across our path, black birds with yellow wings flitted up to high-hanging nests, and flocks of wild parakeets chirped noisily overhead. We sampled bitter cocoa fruit and seeds, scarcely resembling processed chocolate.
Friday, August 11, 2017
First Day at New School, Memoriam for Anna Adams, Benghazi, Anyone? What about Monica? Democrats—Get a Grip!
Sunday, August 6, 2017
Peace Corps, Bravo McCain, Interpretation Agency Farewell, Cuba, Guns, Trump (still in office, unfortunately), Abortion Issue, A Death Foretold
State Dept, is considering removing “democracy promotion” from its mission statement:
https://www.aol.com/article/ news/2017/08/01/us-state- department-may-remove- democracy promotion-from- missio/23060433/
Anna Adams, whom I have known since were both age 14 and living in Colombia, has just died. We, her friends, knew she was seriously ill, but we were planning to celebrate her 80th birthday in Providence, RI, where she lived, later this month. So sorry she didn’t make it as she had made elaborate plans which we, her friends, were trying hard to fulfill. I, at least, hoped the pending birthday party might give her the will to survive that long. She visited me in Honduras when I was in the Peace Corps there and twice she and I went with other friends to spend time in Provincetown at the far end of Cape Cod. Despite COPD that required her to use a respirator, Anna remained upbeat and hopeful and mentally sharp. She miraculously survived being run over by a vehicle belonging to her assisted living facility, spent two years in the hospital recovering including the amputation of a leg, finally won a settlement against the assisted living facility, and now has died of cancer. Unfortunately, the other side stalled in going to trial, probably hoping she would die first, but she outsmarted them on that score. Yet, their stalling meant she didn’t really have much time to benefit from her settlement. She was a valiant and loyal friend.
Thursday, July 20, 2017
I put the photo of me wearing my Honduras Peace Corps t-shirt next to an airplane seatmate wearing his Panama PC shirt on LinkedIn and it has had over 7,000 views there—never expected it to be an internet sensation. Here it is again.
Below: I had two summer visitors from Honduras, Gustavo, the judge from Choluteca in my Honduras Peace Corps book (Triumph & Hops: Golden Years with the Peace Corps in Honduras), and his wife.
Short, cogent article below about Trump’s war on the press. Berating the press is not only a favorite form of protection or denial for Trump, but is part of keeping up his image of a being combative tough guy.
Texas U.S. Representative Bill Flores, a Republican now in his fourth term in the state’s 17th District, told a local CBS affiliate that Trump’s children, as well as his son-in-law, should be bounced from the White House. A good idea!
Honduras is on "red alert" over the number of women being murdered, according to the country's rights activists. Members of 20 different women's groups have banded together to highlight the problem, saying at least 18 women were killed in the past two weeks. The organizations say out of 463 women murdered last year, only 15 cases were investigated. The country's overall murder rate is down, according to official statistics. The state figures, released this week, show the total murders fell by 22% in the first six months of this year. The government says it is making progress and is working to reduce violence across the country https://www.yahoo.com/news/m/4becb051-f7ad-394c-a7c0-af2e0cdfc24b/ss_honduras-on-%27red-alert%27-over.html
My friend and former housemate, a water specialist on contract with USAID, was off to the Congo where many unfortunate South Sudan refugees have fled and need clean water in the refugee camps. Of course, like all good things, including Peace Corps, Trump’s budget wants to cut USAID and foreign aid to give tax cuts to the upper brackets.
Turkey’s president is at war with Amnesty International, https://www.yahoo.com/news/m/05c3f18f-05a8-3088-9ade-699bb2aaeeca/ss_turkey-arrests-amnesty.html
AI issued an Urgent Action for our Turkey director: https://www.amnestyusa.org/urgent-actions/urgent-action-free-director-of-ai-turkey-turkey-ua-166-17/
Our organization also issued two new UAs for Cuban prisoners:
Panama offers Cuban migrants a ticket to Havana and $1,650 each. Most don’t want to return there.
Thursday, July 6, 2017
Nigerian visitors, Oregon Family Remembrance and Reunion, Honduras, Vehicle as Terror Weapon, Basic Income
Below, photos from late June 2017 "Joe family reunion" in Portland, Oregon, also a memorial held there for my late ex-husband's sister who passed away at age 84, just days before our scheduled get-together. Although I was divorced after spending 24 years as a member of the "Joe" clan (last name's spelling thanks to Papa Joe when he arrived from Korea), later, because of marriages, my own side of the family are practically the only ones still bearing the odd "Joe" last name. (I'm glad now to be accepted back into the fold.)
Left and below, eating at pirate-themed restaurant. (If I were better at arranging these photos, they wouldn't take up so much space.)
Family members came from the east coast (ourselves), Minnesota, California, and various parts of Oregon.
Above, my nephew Darrel, a loud snorer, right, great-grandson De'Andre in pool at our Air B&B rental with my nephew Conrad.
Below, making Korean mandu, something I once often made years ago with the family.
Above, center, new widower Bernard, age 85, wife of the recently departed and mourned Elizabeth; at left is my granddaughter Natasha,
The beautiful gardens of our rented house put me in mind of one of my favorite childhood books, The Secret Garden.
Below, Multnomah Falls--the others crossed the bridge partway up, but I stayed behind, being afraid of heights.
Osprey below is a common bird of prey in the area, seen here in the falls' museum.
Above, on flight back to DC, fortuitously and with completely random seating, I found myself next to another former Peace Corps volunteer, both of us wearing our PC t-shirts, his for Panama, mine for Honduras. Small world!
We had such a wonderful reunion with my ex-husband’s family, people I was once close to but was cut off from for a time after 24 years of marriage to my late ex-husband, who remarried. They all accepted me as if I had never been gone. Now we were brought together again, as can be seen, but sadly, my ex's older sister, Elizabeth/Betty, age 84, died days before our scheduled get-together.
Since I don’t have or watch TV in my own home, it was revelation for me to see it airing fairly constantly at the AirB&B house that we were renting. There are lots of commercials on TV depicting an idealized version of the American family, a Mom, a Dad, a couple of kids playing outdoors while a dog romps with them. The news and ads seemed repetitious. I’m so grateful for more balanced and substantive public radio news with few ads and I only hope Trump Inc. won’t manage to gut that, along with other damage he is doing.
Apparently Comey was not the only government official that Trump leaned on to stop the Russia investigation. But others have apparently testified to that behind closed doors.
Team Trump plans to reduce Peace Corps spending by close to $12 million immediately. This is not good news and could portend even deeper cuts in the years ahead. More at : http://peacecorpsworldwide. org/taylor-dibbert-now-isnt- the-time-to-cut-peace-corps- funding-guatemala/
Sen. Bernie Sanders has gleefully pointed out Trump’s praise of the Australian single-payer health care system in a meeting with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, after making unfavorable comments about our own system.
No need to say much about Trump’s continuing weird and concerning personal behavior, which speaks for itself and which may still inspire his base—the worse he acts, the better a shrinking number seem to like it—and is something which the spineless Republican Party mostly fails to acknowledge. Maybe he likes being an outrageous showman to distract from his other problems: lack of broad popularity, the Russian investigation, his dearth of knowledge and plans, his apparent mental and emotional deficiencies. The guy seems impervious to embarrassment and unaware of normal expectations. (His family and staff must secretly be cringing.) He and Kim Jung-Un, two crazies, are a dangerous, possibly combustible, combination.
Of course, Kim’s ace-in-the-hole is nuclear capability. Thank goodness that the Soviets halted Cuba’s attempt to acquire the same, or we might be facing a similar threat much closer to home.
I was at a recent interpretation assignment for speech and behavioral therapy for a boy and his father. The boy is being regularly coached to pay more attention, wait his turn, and respond appropriately. Too bad Trump won’t be attending any such therapy to help him learn to behave in a less impulsive and more socially acceptable manner, but maybe it’s too late for him. My 9-year-old great-grandson would be as capable as Trump of declaring that North Korea has engaged in "very, very bad behavior” and that “something will have to be done about it," warning of “severe things” (such as what?). Maybe Trump wants to keep Kim guessing?
As part of the American majority who never voted for the Donald, I do feel resentful of the quirks of the electoral college and Republican gerrymandering which have allowed an uniformed and vindictive minority to hold our country hostage with this clown. In the other hand, he makes for a lively news cycle, ample fodder for conversation, and is certainly one for the history books.
Glad to hear there has been a stay of deportation of Iraqi Christians. Can’t Trump’s evangelical supporters get behind the effort to support them?
Vehicles being used as terror weapons has proven to be a frightening new development since vehicles are everywhere and readily available, and are also needed in everyday life.
Finally, since greater automation allows more production with fewer workers, there will be no going back to the mass factory jobs of old (sorry, Trump) nor a romantic return to rugged frontier individualism and survival of the fittest, a vision at least given lip service by many Republican politicians. Nor should the financial benefits of automation accrue only to CEOs and shareholders, but can be more equitably distributed in a national “safety net,” if you will, including in support of education and the arts, to offer people more avenues of what we used to call “purposeful activity” when I worked at the occupational therapy association. A guaranteed minimum income, universal health care, and support for education at least at the community college level (Hillary Clinton’s plan) would benefit the economy by promoting jobs—both in the health and education sectors and by providing buying power to benefit recipients. I am not advocating Soviet (or Cuban) style top-down control of the entire economy or full-blown socialism, whatever that means, but something along the lines of the system of the Nordic countries have adopted, with regular, fair elections, a competitive economy, substantial taxes, and a basic minimum social safety net. Those countries have proved that such a system can work in the real world. Henry Ford deliberately paid his workers enough to buy the cars they made—what goes around, comes around—we need to keep the economy and life moving and even Donald Trump cannot take it with him.