Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sudan Elections, Troy Davis, Islamic Censorship, Arizona’s Anti-Immigrant Bill

Not much to say, in fact nothing, this time on Honduras.

Not surprisingly, Omar al-Bashir has claimed a resounding victory in Sudan’s recent election, which has been declared by observers to have fallen short of international standards. Bashir, a thorough-goingly (is that grammatically correct?) corrupt politician, responsible for carnage and oppression in Darfur and for thwarting the south’s secession next year, had been trying through this election to bolster his legitimacy after his Hague indictment for crimes against humanity. Holding tenaciously onto the reins of power in Sudan, he has triumphantly declared his own victory. It’s a sorry situation, but unless someone wants to launch a pre-emptive war against him from the outside, it’s hard to see how to dislodge him. Let’s hope he doesn’t live as long as Fidel Castro, to inflict decades of suffering on his own people.

This came in via Facebook: We just got word that Troy Davis will finally get his day in court! A federal judge has scheduled an evidentiary hearing for June 30th. While the news of the hearing date is welcome, we must continue to let Georgia authorities know that we support full justice for Troy Davis. Please ask your friends to sign our petition opposing the death penalty for Troy Davis. Of course, we in Amnesty International oppose the death penalty unconditionally. It’s hard sometimes to take that position when someone appears guilty of a heinous crime. But even death penalty advocates should take pause at all the death-row inmates who have been exonerated years later by DNA evidence.

Though I usually don’t quote from National Review on-line, it has a provocative article now about the heavy hand of fear leading to self-censorship regarding anything that might conceivably be offensive to hard-line Islamists. It’s a huge dilemma—dare you publish something that might cause someone out there to launch a retaliatory attack? The following are excerpts from the article entitled “Self-Censoring South Park,” referring to blacking out the figure of Mohammed in a recent South Park episode: The late former Indonesian president and distinguished Islamic scholar Abdurrahman Wahid observed that coercively applied blasphemy laws “narrow the bounds of acceptable discourse in the Islamic world, and prevent most Muslims from thinking ‘outside the box’ not only about religion, but about vast spheres of life, literature, science and culture in general.”
In the West, extremists have already reacted violently to statements questioning Islamic doctrine’s link to violence (Pope Benedict’s speech at Regensburg), protesting the abuse of women by some Muslims (Van Gogh and Hirsi Ali’s Submission), using the Koran in a work of fiction (Rushdie’s Satanic Verses), sympathetically explaining Islam to Jews (Khalid Duran’s Children of Abraham), criticizing Sudan’s stoning law (a U.N. special rapporteur), and fictionalizing the prophet’s marriage to a nine-year-old (Sherry Jones’s Jewel of Medina). These are only a tiny sample. Then there is the chilling effect. Because of threats to others, Yale University Press, Random House, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and others dropped plans to publish or display ideas and images that touch on Islam. Even the British watchdog Index on Censorship admitted that fear drove its decision not to publish the Danish cartoons in its article criticizing Yale University Press’s decision not to publish the Danish cartoons in its “definitive” book on the subject… In a February interview that addressed censorship surrounding the Danish cartoons, including on South Park, [South Park producer Matt] Stone told the Huffington Post: “Cartoonists, people who do satire…this is our time to stand up and do the right thing. And to watch the New York Times, Comedy Central, everybody just go, ‘No, we’re not going to do it, because basically we’re afraid of getting bombed’ sucked.”
And yet, who can blame them?

Needless-to-say, I am not a fan of Arizona’s new anti-immigrant law—rather, anti-Hispanic immigrant law. I do sympathize with white, native-born Arizonians who feel they are being invaded, as, no doubt, Arizona has borne the brunt of illegal cross-overs from Mexico. Even here in Washington, DC, when riding a city bus, I often see white and African American riders bristle or frown when a group of Spanish-speaking passengers gets on together and keeps on chattering loudly, as if they owned the place. Once I heard a man sitting next to me mutter, “Why don’t they learn English?” At the same time, since many of such people are my clients and I know something of their personal stories, I cannot find it in my heart to say they should be summarily deported, whatever their legal status. They are here because they needed work and if they weren’t needed in the job market, they would never have come nor stayed. How about cracking down on employers instead? Of course, if we didn’t have undocumented immigrants, we’d probably see higher prices. Still, the continuing flow has to be stemmed in a humane way, which no one has figured out yet. Meanwhile, we need to legalize folks already here because we do need their labor and their social security and tax contributions to support us old folks. The native-born are not producing enough new young workers. But we don’t want that to be an incentive for others to keep on coming. A good solution will be difficult to find. Of course, immigrants who commit crimes, whether undocumented or not, are deported and should be.

Below is what Sojourners’ Jim Wallis has to say. I’m sharing it, as he recommends.

Arizona’s Immigration Bill is a Social and Racial Sin
by Jim Wallis 4-21-2010

I got up at 4:30 a.m. on Tuesday to fly to Phoenix, Arizona, to speak at a press conference and rally at the State Capitol at the invitation of the state’s clergy and other leaders in the immigration reform movement. The harshest enforcement bill in the country against undocumented immigrants just passed the Arizona state House and Senate, and is only awaiting the signature of Governor Janet Brewer to become law.

Senate Bill 1070 would require law enforcement officials in the state of Arizona to investigate someone’s immigration status if there is “reasonable suspicion” that the person might be undocumented. I wonder who that would be, and if anybody who doesn’t have brown skin will be investigated. Those without identification papers, even if they are legal, are subject to arrest; so don’t forget your wallet on your way to work if you are Hispanic in Arizona. You can also be arrested if you are stopped and are simply with people who are undocumented — even if they are your family. Parents or children of “mixed-status families” (made up of legal and undocumented, as many immigrant families are out here) could be arrested if they are found together. You can be arrested if you are “transporting or harboring” undocumented people. Some might consider driving immigrant families to and from church to be Christian ministry — but it will now be illegal in Arizona.

For the first time, all law enforcement officers in the state will be enlisted to hunt down undocumented people, which will clearly distract them from going after truly violent criminals, and will focus them on mostly harmless families whose work supports the economy and who contribute to their communities. And do you think undocumented parents will now go to the police if their daughter is raped or their family becomes a victim of violent crime? Maybe that’s why the state association of police chiefs is against SB 1070.

This proposed law is not only mean-spirited — it will be ineffective and will only serve to further divide communities in Arizona, making everyone more fearful and less safe. This radical new measure, which crosses many moral and legal lines, is a clear demonstration of the fundamental mistake of separating enforcement from comprehensive immigration reform. We all want to live in a nation of laws, and the immigration system in the U.S. is so broken that it is serving no one well. But enforcement without reform of the system is merely cruel. Enforcement without compassion is immoral. Enforcement that breaks up families is unacceptable. And enforcement of this law would force us to violate our Christian conscience, which we simply will not do. It makes it illegal to love your neighbor in Arizona.

Before the rally and press event, I visited some immigrant families who work at Neighborhood Ministries, an impressive community organization affiliated with Sojourners’ friends at the Christian Community Development Association. I met a group of women who were frightened by the raids that have been occurring, in which armed men invade their homes and neighborhoods with guns and helicopters. When the rumors of massive raids spread, many of these people flee both their homes and their workplaces, and head for The Church at The Neighborhood Center as the only place they feel safe and secure. But will police invade the churches if they are suspected of “harboring” undocumented people, because it is the law? Will the nurse practitioner I met at their medical clinic serving only uninsured people be arrested for being “with” the children of families who are here illegally as she treats them?

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At the rally, I started with the words of Jesus (which drew cheers from the crowd gathered at the state Capitol), who instructed his disciples to “welcome the stranger,” and said that whatever we do to “the least of these, who are members of my family” we do to him. I think that means that to obey Jesus and his gospel will mean to disobey SB 1070 in Arizona. I looked at the governor’s Executive Tower and promised that many Christians in Arizona won’t comply with this law because the people they will target will be members of our “family” in the body of Christ. And any attack against them is an attack against us, and the One we follow.

Catholic Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles just called this Arizona measure “the country’s most retrogressive, mean-spirited, and useless immigration law.” On CNN, I defended the Cardinal’s comments, which likened the requirement of people always carrying their “papers” to the most oppressive regimes of Nazism and Communism. I wonder whether the tea party movement that rails against government intrusion will rail against this law, or whether those who resist the forced government registration of their guns will resist the forced government requirement that immigrants must always carry their documentation. Will the true conservatives please stand up here? We are all waiting.

Arizona’s SB 1070 must be named as a social and racial sin, and should be denounced as such by people of faith and conscience across the nation. This is not just about Arizona, but about all of us, and about what kind of country we want to be. It’s time to stand up to this new strategy of “deportation by attrition,” which I heard for the first time today in Arizona. It is a policy of deliberate political cruelty, and it should be remembered that “attrition” is a term of war. Arizona is deciding whether to wage war on the body of Christ. We should say that if you come after one part of the body, you come after all of us.

Jim Wallis is the author of Rediscovering Values: On Wall Street, Main Street, and Your Street — A Moral Compass for the New Economy, and is CEO of Sojourners. He blogs at

Monday, April 26, 2010

Computer World, Micheletti: Zelaya Has Mental Problems, Cuba’s Women in White Attacked Again

During a recent interpretation assignment at a special education school, I noted that a teenage student, whose IQ was estimated at 40 because of a congenital condition, seemed pretty competent at using a computer (his mother, who was present, was Spanish-speaking). I’ve also seen blind and severely physically disabled people using computers for communication and learning otherwise difficult or impossible. Computers have not only facilitated communication for most of us (despite glitches, frustrations, and annoying viruses) but they have absolutely revolutionized it for the disabled (think Stephen Hawking). And it seems that often the method opens up a whole new world and awakens abilities otherwise dormant. My own mother, nearing 90, mastered e-mail to stay in touch with me in Honduras and a nephew with learning disabilities communicates appropriately with me via e-mail.

I had another interpretation, this time at Wilson High School, the school from which both my daughters graduated, but, alas, students must now pass through metal detectors as they enter. Still another recent interpretation involved a family with four small kids, where the oldest, about 9, had come to school with a bruise on his cheek reportedly inflicted by his father. The whole family came into child welfare services and the children were interviewed first, with the parents waiting outside. The kids did not give a picture of a father run amok; they said he rarely used physical punishment. When the dad himself came back into the room and had a chance to speak, he said that this son, who had had good grades before, had suddenly gone downhill, especially in his classroom behavior, which had been consistently bad lately. The father said he had acted out of sheer frustration. The boy himself said he did not like his teacher. The child welfare worker suggested family counseling in an effort to find the cause of the recent behavior problems. She said that while parental corporal punishment is to be avoided, it is not totally prohibited, provided no marks are left on the child, at most, a light swat on the behind with the hand (never a belt—in Texas, however, paddling has been reinstated in some schools). Still, time-outs and suspension of privileges are preferable, the worker said. On the way out, the parents told me they were astounded by this sort of intervention, which would never have occurred in Mexico (their native country), since corporal punishment of kids there is the norm and no one would ever dare to interfere with parental authority. That’s true also in Honduras.

Cannot recall if I’ve mentioned before on these pages that Solei (AKA Reinita), daughter of Reina and granddaughter of the late Dona Marina, has finally found out that she is adopted? Readers of my book will recall that Solei and her twin, adopted by a neighbor, never realized that they were biological sisters. Both mothers refused to tell them, despite my advice to do so, since, I warned, the whole town could not be trusted to keep that secret forever. Additionally, Solei would eventually figure out, being decades younger than her mother’s other offspring and having been born after Reina’s childbearing years (and long after Reina’s husband had died), that she could not possibly be her biological daughter. Indeed, around the time that Solei celebrated her quinceanera (coming-of-age 15th birthday) last year, someone in town spilled the beans to Solei and her twin, causing them both to shed copious tears, but only temporarily. The whole issue was so distressing to Reina that she’d called upon one of her older daughters to confirm to Solei the facts of the adoption and explain why she had kept it secret all these years.
When I saw Solei in February, even though Reina was then spending a few months in the US with her sons, the girl seemed pretty accepting of the fact of her adoption and very loyal to Reina, though anxious for her to return. The shock of finding out still lingered, but was much diminished. “I know Mami loves me,” Solei said.

In the local Spanish-language press, former Honduran interim president Roberto Micheletti is quoted as declaring that Zelaya has mental problems, which he has transmitted to some of his supporters, who keep agitating in the legislature for unwise constitutional changes. In other news, a Honduran journalist was murdered this week, the fifth so far this year.

This from an on-line posting forwarded to me: Cuban medical experts have prepared a plan for a new Haitian health care system. It was adopted at a joint meeting of the Haitian, Cuban and Brazilian health ministers in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince on March 27. (Havana Times, March 31) The public ceremony announcing the plan took place at a Cuban-Haitian field hospital in Croix des Bouquets, a community a few miles due east of the Port-au-Prince airport.

In front of 400 Cuban medical staff and graduates of Cuba’s Latin American Medical School (ELAM), the Brazilian government announced that it had pledged $80 million to help build the health care system in Haiti. Brazil has commanded the U.N. forces in Haiti since soon after the 2004 coup that ousted elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Haitian Health Minister Alex Larsen stressed the importance of the plan: “This accord complements the trilateral pact signed among Haiti, Cuba and Venezuela, putting us on the right track to rebuild our public health system.” Minister Larsen also expressed gratitude for the Cuban doctors who on Jan. 12 “responded immediately, offering medical services and attending our dead. I truly don’t know how to thank the Cuban medical team for their extraordinary work during those days.”

Bruno Rodríguez Parilla, Cuban minister of foreign affairs, called on “all governments, without exception, to contribute to this noble effort.”

It's fine that Cuba helps to reorganize the Haitian health system, but it should not work alone, rather in conjunction and coordination with other governments and organizations, preferably an international or UN body. Cuban medical personnel have genuinely assisted in other countries (though they were kicked out of Panama when I was there). But mostly, this effort is another way for the economically strapped Cuban government not only to get brownie points for its humanitarianism, but to earn hard currency and avoid having to pay its excess medical workers. The money that Brazil is donating to this endeavor is not going only to the medical workers and infrastructure in Haiti, but will be funneled through the Cuban government, which will take its cut. Lula knows this and is willing to help out the Cuban government this manner. It's an effort that other countries and entities should be wary of contributing to. Cuba should be invited to assign staff to a truly international effort carried out under more transparent financial and program controls and also, in the spirit of other organizations, to start training Haitian medical workers to take over.

One of my correspondents makes the following comments about the report of the unfortunate American deported after trying to deliver medical supplies to Cuba:
Might it also have been an off-the-books undertaking by persons of ill intent who know enough about loci of opportunity to frequent airports? From my experience with that case in Boston…big municipal or international airports are natural incubators of nefarious schemes and employers of bent cops. (There was a Mass. State Police barracks in Logan that had a big say about the movement of drugs in the northeast until a crackdown finally happened.) Things may not be all that different in a state where the thugs are openly in charge.

My answer is “yes and no.” It’s likely that Cuban officials now, after the recent arrest of an American distributing free cell phones and laptops, are going overboard in their zeal to be even harsher than is absolutely authorized, either out of revolutionary fervor or hope of winning praise from higher-ups. They are probably being exhorted to be especially suspicious of Americans. But there are no freelance persons of ill-intent frequenting Cuban airports, first because transportation to an airport is difficult at best, second because only passengers and employees are allowed into airports, and third because there are few flights in and out and relatively few travelers, so any unauthorized individuals would stand out and would be swiftly dealt with. There are no milling crowds in the few Cuban airports (I know of only two, Havana and Santiago) stopping at Starbucks or a bookstore and, of course, no stores except for small duty-free shops staffed by state-employed party loyalists. But that doesn’t mean that officials might not go beyond their mandate. Or might they have been looking for a bribe? Bribes are a way of life in Cuba to get around red tape. However, in the case of the American medical supplies traveler, it would have been risky for him to offer an outright bribe, which might have backfired as further proof of his perfidy and landed him in jail instead of just getting him deported. Instead, he might have tried offering, in broken Spanish, to pay a duty on the medications, thus claiming innocence if accused of bribery, and the officials might then have quietly pocketed the payment and let him through.

The Women in White are still being harassed (see below). It seems that they have now become a nuisance to the government, which had pretty much left them alone before for fear of provoking a European tourist boycott.

Now even Cuba’s Cardinal Jaime Ortega, usually silent on political matters, is calling for urgent economic and political changes. That seems to be the consensus as well among the party elite, according to confidential reports of Cubans who have visited the island recently, but Fidel is standing fast. However, he did acquiesce to the privatization of hair salons and barber shops, a small step undertaken in part because such places were probably costing the government more than they were taking in.

Apparently, Venezuela, the country propping up the Cuban system, is in trouble too, both politically and economically. The two aspects go hand-in-hand everywhere, including in our own country, where economic recovery has been sluggish at best and is prompting mistrust of government, so we have nothing to crow about here. But it is just as well that Honduras, whatever hardships it has endured over the Zelaya affair, did not become overly reliant on Venezuela, which may be a sinking ship that takes Cuba down with it.
Cuba Clamps Down on 'Ladies In White' Protest
By REUTERS April 18, 2010

HAVANA - Cuban authorities blocked the weekly protest march by the dissident group "Ladies in White" on Sunday and set government supporters shouting and jeering at them for more than two hours. The incident appeared to signal the government's determination to end the silent marches the women have conducted for seven years seeking the release of their family members from prison.

Nine women from the group showed up on Sunday at their traditional gathering point, a mass at the Santa Rita Catholic Church in Havana's Miramar neighbourhood, but when they went out to make their usual silent walk along Fifth Avenue, officials said they could not unless they had a permit.

"We are not going to stop until you give us an order in writing that we need a permit," leader Laura Pollan told authorities before the crowd set in. The women linked arms, held up flowers and stood mostly silent under the verbal abuse from government supporters.

The incident ended when state security agents forced the white-clad dissidents into a bus and whisked them away. They were driven to their homes. Three of the nine women were helped from the crowd earlier when they grew faint after standing for so long under the warm sun and the hot breath of 100 chanting government supporters.
The women, who dress in white, have staged the marches since shortly after their husbands and sons were jailed in a government crackdown on its opponents in March 2003. The marches, held under the watchful eyes of state security agents, have been the only known public protests regularly allowed by Cuban authorities since the early 1960s.

But officials appear to be clamping down after the women marched through Havana for seven days last month in widely publicized protests. Those marches drew international criticism when the women were harassed by large numbers of government supporters, and they came at a time when Cuba was already under fire for the February death of imprisoned dissident hunger striker Orlando Zapata Tamayo.
Authorities recently told the women they would now have to get a permit to march each week, which they refused to do. The Cuban government considers dissidents to be mercenaries for the United States and other enemies.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Now 23 Amazon Book Reviews, CR President-Elect Supports Lobo, Cuba News

Just checked in with Amazon and discovered that my book now has 23 reviews, 21 5-star and 2 4-star. It’s always surprising and humbling that readers manage to find my book and take the time to post a review on line. Thanks guys, even though we’ve never met, I do appreciate knowing that I’ve connected with you.

I’ve posted over 100 Feb. trip photos here on this blog, one by one, all with captions related to the trip narrative, which had appeared earlier on the same day (April 12). (Some of the same photos, in reverse order without captions, had also been posted by my daughter Stephanie previously.) I trust that will readers know how to go through all the photos sequentially by clicking on “older.” Some look a little dark because the camera I borrowed had no flash (my own camera was stolen in Honduras in Feb. 2009) and often there was no electricity inside. They show natural or dim light, just as it actually was. Sometimes when I log onto the blog, several photos appear on the page, easier to follow, but, other times, they appear only one by one requiring you to keep clicking “older” to see the next one. I don’t know what governs that.

Our local Spanish-language press reports that the newly elected Costa Rican president Laura Chinchilla backs Porfirio Lobo as the legitimate president of Honduras and that El Salvador and Guatemala also support the return of Honduras to the OAS. In other news, remittances to Central America have risen somewhat and the Honduran army was dispatched to the capital after a gang war that left 9 people dead. During 2009, there were 5,300 reported murders and 112 kidnappings in Honduras, a country of about 7 1/2 million.

Although Honduras is the main subject of this blog, hope my readers will indulge my interest in Cuba as well.
Cuba: Employees Take Ownership of Hair Salons
By REUTERS, April 12, 2010

Cuba is turning over hundreds of state-run barber shops and beauty salons to employees in what appears to be the start of a long-expected revamping of state retail services by President Raúl Castro. The measure marks the first time state-run retail establishments have been handed over to employees since they were nationalized in 1968. Barbers and hairdressers said they would now rent the space where they worked instead of receiving a monthly wage.

Cuban officials prove super-suspicious of US visitors

Here is the narrative of a recent visitor to Cuba who tried to go on a humanitarian mission to deliver medical supplies and was turned back. He has agreed to share his experience.

You may recall that I told you I was going to Cuba on a service trip on behalf of a Humanitarian License to deliver much needed medical goods to various hospitals, clinics, and orphanages in Havana. On December 29th 2009 I travelled to Jose Marti Int’l Airport by way of a chartered flight out of Miami…I arrived in Havana at around 2 PM. When going through customs, the official knew I was not of Cuban descent nor was I apart of a larger group, so he knew that I must have a license to for travel. He asked to see my license and marked it down on a piece of paper. I then went through customs with no problems. I grabbed my bag from the carrousel and waited in the line to get my exit card. While I was waiting a customs official tapped me on the shoulder and motioned for me to come to a table. He started asking why I was there, where I was staying, where I was from, what school do I go to, what am I studying, where will I be going once in Cuba, what exactly am I in Cuba for, etc. I expected these questions. I actually expected to be asked the questions sooner—I didn’t assume that I would walk right through a Cuban airport—as a U.S. citizen—with no problems or questioning. I answered all of the customs official’s questions truthfully. When he asked why I was in Cuba I answered that I was on behalf of a Humanitarian License granted by the U.S. Treasury Dept.’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. He looked at my license paper and then took my suitcase over to a very large stainless steel table that very much resembles a gurney. About 4 to 5 more customs officials came over and started removing everything from my suitcase and documenting everything that lay inside. I was questioned regarding every little thing in the suitcase—who is it for, what is it, etc. It was all medical supplies—aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, adult vitamins, children’s vitamins, bandages, Neosporin, etc. They placed all of the humanitarian aid into one large sac and weighed it: 11.7 kilos…

For about twenty minutes, the customs officials proceeded to ask me more questions. I was then directed to a chair that was further inside the airport. I was told to sit in the chair and to stay there. I waited for about a half hour. About four officials, three men and one woman translator (who was hardly a translator), surrounded me. This time the officials, whose seemingly authoritative uniforms suited their, literally, towering status, proceeded to ask me more questions. I don’t know exactly when, but the questioning quickly turned into interrogation as the officials took-on a somewhat aggressive tone that was coupled with seemingly paranoid questions. “Who are you working for?” one of the officials asked me in an overly confident tone. “Oh no, I am not working for anyone. I am working through an organization. It’s a non-profit organization.” The distinction was completely abortive. My mind raced as I frantically tried to remember the differences between por and para. “What is the name of the person you are working for?” the woman stated in awfully spoken English. I am working through “E.C.H.O. Cuba—Evangelical Christian Humanitarian Outreach…

For eight hours I was interrogated and not allowed to move from my seat or eat or drink. I was eventually deported. If I tried to get up I was yelled at and told not to move. I was flown back to Miami. ECHO’s manager told me that this has never happened to anyone who they have worked with before. He stated that they just arrested a U.S. contractor two weeks before I flew to Havana, and he is supposedly still incarcerated. Consequently, the Cuban government was hyper-paranoid about any U.S. citizens traveling to Cuba. Nonetheless I am extremely grateful for my time in Cuba as I have developed an incredible gratitude for democracy. I do plan on hopefully going back someday!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Photos are now posted!

First, I found out that some of the photos I had taken were actually movies—I must have pressed the wrong button sometimes on my borrowed camera, with which I was unfamiliar. You will recall that my own camera had been stolen in Honduras last year. Then I had to transfer the photos from a CD to my computer, organize and caption them; after that, transfer them to the blog. If you are computer-challenged, as I am, that’s a big job! But I did it.

So here are the photos that go with the long narrative posted earlier. I would have preferred to do a slide show, like one that’s already on the blog, but how was that done? I don’t know or recall, so I went one by one, posting each individually, starting with the last first, so that the first part would actually come out first. You can see by the time line how long it took me because there was a test nearly each and every time with one of those crazy word patterns to decipher and, sometimes, I got it wrong and had to shut everything down and start over. Whew! So I hope some folks will look at these photos and read the trip narrative.

Here’s a message from the March 26 posting: Marry said…Blogs are so informative where we get lots of information on any topic. Nice job keep it up!!Thanks so much, Merry, sorry I didn’t answer before.

Barbara, Panama Peace Corps HQ

Central Chitre

Chitre cathedral

Afternoon worshipper

Catheral window

Cathedral at night

Chitre street

Local park

Traditional house

Curb cut

Historic building

Panama, women's pants sale

PCV Bob getting shoe shine

Indigenous beggar family

Cuna Indian woman

Chitre family

Family waits outside rural Panama health center

Typical Panama food containers

Woman with adobe oven

Unhulled rice

Termite nests

Panamanian woman farmer cutting fence posts

Panamanian dad displays youngest

Choluteca, Honduras, Dr. Lesly's niece & nephew

Choluteca fruit vendor

Quads at Teleton, Cholu

L-R, Therapist, Mom, G'ma, Therap. w quads

Down Syndrome kids at Teleton

Developmental therapy, Teleton

Jorge, R, with Dad & Daniel

Guasaule, Marciel cooking

Bessy with wheelchair

El Triunfo Valentine's festival

Triunfo festival, diesel-generated rids

Festival ride

Candied apple stand

Triunfo sisters Mercedes & Mariana

Pedro Joaquin in home music shop

Teen maid Suyapa sweeping up

Neris, now 17, with Daniel

Cosecha cook using Swiss peeler

La Cosecha, lunchtime

At the lunch table, Cosecha

Some kids prefer the floor

Rio Grande #1, Blanca on cell, Daniel behind

Blanca's chickens

Blanca's daughter tries peeler

Matapalos, Lea cooking

Lea's granddaughter with peeler

Low energy bulb donated by Venezuela