Lucia has something to say

Friday, August 31, 2007

Earthquake Relief for Peru

I talked with a friend in Lima. On the phone this morning. Who is working on relief efforts. Through an organization in Peru. Called Manos Amigas. She and I. Have roomed together at meetings. And laughed until late into the night. Until our tired conversation becomes one of her speaking Spanish and me responding in English and vice versa.

An earthquake hit south of Lima on August 15. Thousands of people were displaced. Hardest hit was the city of Pisco, where 85% of the buildings were destroyed. The city has been reduced largely to rubble, which the government is removing with heavy equipment. Families are living in tents and receive meals from distribution centers. Soon the families will need to return to their land, and the feeding programs will end.

Since families will need to begin to cook for themselves, Manos Amigas is assembling "family packages" to help with the transition.

Each family package will cost $110 and will include:

1 teapot
3 pans--large, medium, and small
1 frying pan
1 set of cooking fork, spatula and spoon
6 plates
6 bowls
6 cups and saucers
6 glasses
6 sets of silverware--knife, fork, spoon and soup spoon
1 clothes brush
1 plastic basin
plastic bowls with covers
1 bucket
1 two-burner gas stove

SERRV / A Greater Gift, where I work, is collecting donations of any size which will be passed on to Manos Amigas for purchase of the elements of these family packages. If you are interested in donating, go to:

and click on Donate Here.

In order to designate this gift for earthquake relief, since our web person's been out for a few days, put Lucia in the space where it says this gift is on behalf of. We'll then know to apply it to earthquake relief. (I'll ask our blog person to put a drop down box to designate for earthquake relief when we're back in the office next week.)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Guess What Day It Is?

I woke up late. Played with the dog. Danced 'round the house to Mike Doughty. Went to the diner. With a good book. For breakfast. Sent some gifts to a few friends. Got a massage.

And when I walked into the office at 1:00. This is the first thing I saw.

I never did find the culprit.

Monday, August 27, 2007

B: Borobudur

Destinations that begin with B. Bounce in my head. Bolivia. Bangkok. Bangladesh. Bombay. I’ve swatted Borobudur, the Buddhist temple in Java, to the back. Repeatedly. Too similar to Angkor Wat my mind says. But it floats. To the top. Again and again.

I wasn’t there. At sunrise or sunset. I was there. In the middle of a bright day. With two women. Who had every strand of hair covered. I had not heard of it before. But they wanted to show me the sites. And it is magnificent.

One of my favorite photos of Che Guevara. Is at Borobudur. He stands next to a bell shaped stupa. There are seventy. And inside each is a Buddha. Reach in. And touch the Buddha’s hand. For good luck. Good luck. Did Che touch the Buddha’s hand? For good luck? Did his luck not hold out? Since he was killed in less than five years. In Bolivia.

I bought a few small Buddhas carved from black volcanic rock and took my luck back to my hotel room in Yogyakarta. (Which I learned. Is pronounced Joe-ja-karta. Joe-ja for short.) And laid on the bed. And looked at the arrow on the ceiling. It took me a long time. To figure out. That the arrows on the hotel ceilings. Point in the direction in which to pray. In this Muslim country.

I wandered to the pool. It was full of men and boys. The women sat fully covered on the side. It made me sad to think these women had probably never immersed themselves in water. Not even on vacation. And I certainly couldn’t go out. In a suit. And jump in with the men.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A: Angkor Wat

They opened the photo album. My friends. On the dining table as we drank tea. In DC. In their house. The Center for Endless Tea. And told me about their visit to Angkor Wat. They had gone around on motorbikes. To magnificent temples. With jungle all around. And talked about how it would be developed soon. And it was best to get there before that happened.

It became. My dream destination.

It took me. Ten years to get there.

I arrived in Siem Reap with no plan. I walked across the hot tarmac and out of the airport. And there were 20 car drivers. Vying for fares. To hotels. To Angkor Wat. I picked one for no reason at all, except I needed a ride. To take me to a hotel. When I asked him if he knew anyone who could change the $100 of Vietnamese dong I forgot I had crammed in my pocket, he assured me that he knew a guy who knew a guy. And he did.

While I wandered the ruins, he snoozed in the car. Tripping through magnificent Khmer architecture. Stunning bas-relief carving. There are pictures. Of me. Smiling in a white shirt. And a black cap. I don’t know who took those photos. I expect I asked American. Or Canadian tourists. Who happily obliged. Sweaty. Avoiding anything off the beaten path. Landmines. I was warned.

A girl, not more than 7 years old, asked if I wanted to buy a bag. Deep maroon with gold elephants woven in. She walked next to me insisting it would cost the equivalent of $3. I still am not sure. Why I offered her $2. And she took it. I wish I could find her. And give her the dollar.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Travel A B C

I’ve been reading travel stories. Other people’s travel stories. Scuba diving among sea lions. Climbing Kilamanjaro. Constipated in Italy. Their stories. Not mine.

I’ve spent more months not traveling this year than I have in a long time. The urge pulls me forward. I still hope for HaitiIndiaNepal in ‘07 and to start ‘08 with PalestineIsraelEgypt.

In the meantime, I decided to dig. In my memory. Where the stories live. To put some structure to it. I thought I’d keep it simple. Starting with A. And going through the alphabet. Tomorrow. Tomorrow I’ll start with A. You can count on it.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Rock Her

Tonight I went to see. Patti Smith. Not many women really rock anymore. She kicks ass. As if she was born to be a 60-year-old rocker. I love seeing a woman. Who has booted conformity to the curb. And carries a polaroid camera. And wears a watch from the 1940s. That she forgot to take off in the shower. And who comes on stage with jeans and a t-shirt that looks like it came from the laundry basket. And has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It makes me happy.

She mentioned William Burroughs. Beat poet. Who used to live in Lawrence, Kansas. When I lived there. Followers of the beats. Would come to town. And ask where he lived. And mysteriously. No one could tell them. Although we all knew.

Another time. Another place. Another image of woman.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

The Border

She lives on the border.

"The cockroaches," she said, "leave trash all over my land."

"The cockroaches?" he asked.

"The illegals who cross," she said. Las cucarachas. "You see one and there are another hundred that you don't see."

Calling people cockroaches. Is a dangerous first step to dehumanization. In Rwanda, the Hutus called the Tutsis cockroaches. Before they started their campaign to exterminate them. The power of words is strong. And can subtly sway people. Like the frog in the water set to boil. Without them noticing.