Big Up from Aribinda

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Here it is, my first Thanksgiving away from the nest. This year has been a cool mélange of firsts and given new lessons learned a year of lasts.

I remember telling people I wanted to know what is was like to be poor. How naïve. You should see me in Africa. I'm like a king amongst the bereft, the destitute. I remember seeing an African transient during stage. I again remember thinking how he was the poorest of the poor. He truly stands upon the edge of the precipice.

I have learned I can observe, teach/inform, sympathize, empathize, and, most importantly, help.

What a first 3 months as a volunteer. Already I learned so much. But now, it is time to give thanks.

First, to my beautiful, wonderful family, now spread out over 3 continents, always inter-connected by our psychic/spiritual Wisdom antennae. I have been truly blessed in having an intrepid father, who taught me tolerance, patience, virtue and with my savvy mother also taught me unconditional love and generosity. My bigger little brother, also my best friend, who has shown me resilience. My sister, her hallmarks of enthusiasm and kindness I cherish.

And to all my friends, much love goes out. Dave Hartmann, Scott, Jud, thanks guys for always giving me perspective and slapping me around mentally when I needed it. Ariel, Malia, Jenny. You three have always been ready to listen. I love you. And to so many of the others. Bobby, Jake, and Jason, my brothers-from-other-mothers. Pattie, for being the first one to send me a care package, yay! Aimee, Staci, Steph, Leslie, Karly, of course you guys deserve a shout. But, there are too many to name. Then, of course, I gotta give props to the soldiers sans guns crew, my fellow PCVs in-country. Christina, you truly make it great au Sahel. I couldn't have asked for a better neighbor than you! To all the PCVs world wide: “Hasta la Victoria, Siempre!”

Just remember, wherever you are, says thanks today, hug, and kiss someone. Talk about love, respect, empathy, aid. Think about Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck rocks!) and his lessons of understanding and compassion. And, drink a TG IPA, a Rogue Chocolate Stout, a Pine Marten Pale, a Jubel, and a Celebration for me. The beer here is a terrible imitation. Gives me thanks I am from the Beer Capital of the World, where volcanoes and rivers rule!

Beaucoup d'Amour from your brother close to the River Niger. Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

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