Thursday, March 23, 2017

Adding Miami and Albuquerque

Dear Friends, Not being IT savvy, I find posting photos on this blog, even with a bare minimum of narrative to be quite challenging, so thanks for your understanding. Let's see if I can finish this today.

Above, Homestead shelter where injured Cuban dissident Sirley Avila has been staying for 3 months , after lost paperwork and other problems. Below, Sirley can now walk short distances with a cane. I wrote about her:

                          Below, I invited Sirley and our mutual friend John to lunch.

Below, with another friend, Gerardo, at his home and he and his wife with their pet parakeet. She is from Argentina; he is Cuban.

At lunch below with another Cuban, Dr. Federico, a retired academic and physician, a versatile gentleman who also writes and sings romantic songs in Spanish--and plays the guitar to accompany himself.

Below with Silvia L (Cuban), Carlos (Bolivian), and Karen (USA) 

For some reason, I have no photos of my TV interviewer (in Spanish), nor links to either of my TV appearances, but most readers of this blog don't know Spanish anyway. Regrettably, I also don't have photos of Armando and his family (from my Cuba book), whom I also saw in Florida. 

Below is my brother Bob and his girlfriend Jean next to his new Tesla, a self-driving car that gets free electricity, so no gas, no noise. 

First photo below of flowering tree when I cam back from Honduras and Florida, followed by photo of surprise snow storm that wilted all the flowers.

Below with my new Jamaica assistant Sarah at Amnesty International's 2017 conference in Albuquerque. 

Sarah and Nick below

                                                  AI candle logo at conference hotel

                                                 Below, pro-immigration display

                                       Amnesty leaders from other countries speak in solidarity

                                                Entertainment by local musicians


                                Cathedral from 1700's refurbished below and cathedral gardens below that

                                  Albuquerque is a city of murals and friendly, interesting, quirky people

Catching Up, Finally--Honduras Trip Posting, Florida Stopover, Amnesty Int’l Annual Conference

First, apologies for odd spacing on last blog—I tried to correct it several times without success. The blog format has a mind of its own.
The Trump administration seems to be winging it, throwing out different options without a coherent though-out plan, seeing what garners support. Of course, Steve Bannon may have a plan, but in Trump, he has an undependable partner. Why is Trump always scowling in photos? Is he not having fun? 

I wonder if Barack Obama is writing another book out there on his island hideaway?”

Nicholas Kristof’s column in the NY Times challenges Paul Ryan’s Christian credentials:

More than 500 US cities have now declared themselves to be sanctuary cities, with perhaps slightly different meanings in each, but opposition to cooperation with the Trump administrations is clear. Trump has certainly given ISIS and Al-Qaeda a great gift with his proposed travel ban, making it a big recruiting tool for those groups and causing US-based Muslims to feel anxious and under attack.

Why the Trump administration started out with replacing Obamacare, potentially hurting some of Trump’s most ardent supporters, is beyond understanding, as the brunt, if it passes, is likely to be felt before the mid-term elections, defeating many Republicans. Trump would have done better to start with infrastructure repair or tax relief, which would have been popular, though adding to the deficit. Unfortunately, neither Trump nor his supporters understand much about economics.

However, Ivanka, despite boycotts of some of her products, is apparently not doing too badly after all. Perhaps some buyers support her precisely because they support her father, while others like what she has to offer and don’t hold her father against her.

Having children leads to slightly longer average life expectancy, according to a Swedish study. If so, it may be that children look after aging parents. My friend in rural area lives next door to her 102-year-old mother, who, no doubt, would not do well without her daughter’s daily visits.

A Wall St. Journal article “Cuba Kills Another Dissident (March 6, 2017)” reports the death in prison of 45-year-old afro-Cuban dissident Hamell Santiago Mas Hernandez of a purported heart attack. Such prison deaths of dissidents are often reported as “heart attacks.” 

Now on to the Feb. trip to Honduras, then a brief stopover in Miami, where on Feb. 26, I appeared on a half-hour interview in Spanish on PBS Channel 17. That interview was about Peace Corps, my Amnesty International volunteer work, and Cuba. After I got back to DC, was also interviewed by a local Univision TV station, mostly about my volunteer work in Honduras, so I'm becoming a known quantity on the Spanish-language TV circuit. 

Will show Honduras trip in photos, not necessarily in chronological order. Perhaps because simply of the ravages of time, I found this trip more tiring than previous ones. 

 Donations above, at bus station in Comayaguela, before taking them to their various destinations. I got them that far, so the final step in the distribution was next. Below, health center where suitcase of medical donations went. Doctor there is washing his own instruments; note below paper files at the health center. 

 Below, I am there in broiling El Triunfo riding a rapitido. Then shown with this year's wheelchair recipient, a village woman in her 60's with acute arthritis. Later, I bought food for her family, as they were short on food. The walker recipient, in another village, was 102 years old, with no teeth, so the granddaughter with whom he lived fed him a sort of gruel made mostly of corn from their own fields. Both recipients' families had 4 children, no electricity,no plumbing, and lived in remote areas. 

I was scheduled to see this child below at the Triunfo health center. His mother
brought him, but became frightened that I might take him away, so she left.

Above, Triunfo health center, dengue sign and director Dra. Jeanette. Below once and future Triunfo librarian Pedro Joaquin and family.

Above, Neris and her children, El Triunfo

Below, Castro family and Lesly's father, Choluteca

Below, Judge Gustavo at his Choluteca home with wife, me (below), and thier maid with her brother.

Below, new blind school sign and blind kids with song leader, Tegucigalpa

Below, adult blind center in Sta. Lucia, announcing massage demonstration in the park, my old pal (in Honduras book) Timoteo, blind braille instructor

Left and below, evangelical female pastors, La Esperanza, and Esperanza Catholic church


Above, deaf bus beggar, below underwear display, un-refrigerated eggs--not pre-washed

Shoe repair, left in La Esperanza, a mail slot far
below (even though snail mail is rare), and my former 2-time leg surgery patient Sandra, now age 16, displaying tumor-free leg. With her are her mother and older brother Elvir, whom I put through 2 years of what I thought was nursing school. Now he says it was only to become a nurse's aide and he wants to study the full nursing course. (I am not a bottomless pit!) 

Above and below, Rivera family and teacher-wife Tonia's public school.  

Sorry, it takes a while to move things around.  
Now, if am lucky, Operation Smile. Below Brazilan surgeon and nurse

Below, San Felipe Hospital outpatient occupational therapy--man who fell in therapy session with daughter and brother

Below, sign to Jesus de Otoro, about 20 miles out of La Esperanza, where I visit annually and give a donation to the single mother of 2 sons with spina bifida. The older one has a recurrent pressure sore, but did go to the hospital in Teguc last June to treat it. However, as he says, it always comes back. The little girl sitting on the floor is a neighbor also with spina bifida, whose mother deposited her there and left her while I was observing the cat on top of the refrigerator. The boys' mother said the girl has no wheelchair so her mother carries her. A ride had come to pick me up, so I didn't get particulars on the girl, but I'd like to get her a child-sized wheelchair by next Feb.  

Armed guard at Teguc pharmancy and copy of Mayan statue, Teguc

Friends that's all for today; will post Miami and Albuquerque photos in next posting.